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MY LIFE 



AND 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 



MY LIFE 



AND 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 



BV 

HENRY QpXWELL. 



SECOND SERIES. 



EonDon : 
W. H. ALLEN & CO. 13 WATERLOO PLACE, S.W. 

1889. 

iff yy 



THE NEW YORK 

PUBLIC I '"^APY 

5:M801 

ASTo:«, ! --j^x AMD 
TfLDLi. ,,r.s. 

n 1912 ! 



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c V c k k c c 

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«*»• ^*- *■ ^ *• 

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CONTENTS. 



Introdactory Bemarks to Part II. 
CHAPTEB I. 

PAOB 

My First War Balloon 1 

War Balloons 3 

Night Balloon Ascent at Leeds 4 

Amusing Scenes and Surprises 5 

The Farmer and the Aeronauts 6 

My Balloon descends in Essex by Night 8 

Death of a French Aeronaut at Tottenham 13 

Professor Baldwin the Parachutist 21 



CHAPTER II. 

A Night and Morning Survey of Seven Counties 

The Derby Arboretum Festival 

Caught in a Thunderstorm 

Sheffield and Leeds . • . . 

Exploration of Australia with Balloons 

Five Hundred Venerable Visitors 

Ascent before the Queen and Prince Consort 



23 
30 
31 
32 
33 
34 
36 



CHAPTEB IIL 

Interesting Trip from Chester • . 41 

Discussion about War Balloons 43 

Balloons at the Crystal Palace 47 

The Balloon " Queen " in a Storm 48 

The First G^ala at York . . . . ' 54 

Fatal Fall of an Aeronaut ' 58 



IV 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER IV. 

Balloons ased in the Italian Campaign of 1859 

Reported Destraction of my Balloons by Fire 

Stormy Trip from Congleton . 

A similar Perilous Descent by Mr. Green . 

Another Acconnt by Mr. Green himself . 

I get Homeward on Cratches • • 

'* She ascended once to saTe me from reproach " 



PAOK 

64 
69 
74 
81 
83 
84 
88 



CHAPTER V. 

Rencontre with n^ Medical Assistant • .... 90 

" Mr. Glaisher himself was to go np " 95 

The Great Balloop completed at Tottenham 99 

The Intended Meteorological Experiments 99 

Mr. Glaisher's Report. , Objects of the Experiments • . . 102 

Instruments and Apparatus 103 

Dry and Wet-Bulb Thermometers 104 

Regnault*s Conde^sing^ Hygrometer 105 

Mr. Glaisher's Report of the First Ascent 105 

My own Version of our First High Ascent 108 

CHAPTER VI. 

The Reception I met with at Home 114 

Our Ascent firom the Crystal Palace 116 

An Unscientific but Graphic Description by a Voyager . . • 121 

The Unlucky Number of our Party . . . . . . 126 

A Glance at the Situation 127 

The Second High Ascent on August 18th 129 

CHAPTER VII. 

Mr. Glaisher^s Account of the Highest Ascent 130 

My own Recollections of it 137 

The Highest Ascent on Record. Leading Article from The Times of 

September nth, 1862 144 

•* OoxweU and Glaisher '' 149 



I 

CONTENTS. V 
CHAPTEB VIII. 

PAGB 

GoYemment War Balloons 151 

Militarjr Balloons 152 

The Winchester Ascent. Seventy Miles in Sixty-six Minntes . . 153 

Colonel McDonald's Account ...... . 156 

A Step in the right Direction 158 

The British Association at Camhridge \ 159 

Ascent from the Crystal Palace, April 18th, 1863. Mr. Glaisher's 

Account 162 

Unexpected Scientific Besnlts. Beport by Mr. Glaisher . . . 165 

CHAPTEB IX. 

Coasting in a Balloon 172 

More Information abont Bain obtained. Beport by Mr. Glaisher . 174 

Balloon Survey of Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight . . . 177 
Exchange of National Courtesies on October 9th, 1863. Account by 

Mr. Glaisher 180 

A Balloon Survey of the British Army, 1863 184 

The First Photographic Trip in England 187 

CHAPTEB X. 

Meeting of the British Association at Newcastle in 1863 . . . 192 

Mr. Glaisher on the Decline of Temperature 195 

Balloon Ascent from the Cricket Ground, Newcastle . . . 199 

The Fatal Balloon Accident near Nottingham 200 

Second Ascent for Military Objects 203 

M. Nadar's BaUoon 204 

Godard's Fire Balloon, 1864 207 

CHAPTEB XI. 

Selections from the Bemainder of my Life 213 

A Sketch of the Gala Time at York 215 

Beporters in Cloudland 223 

My Proposal to hold a Freemasons' Meeting in the Clouds . . 227 



VI CONTENTS. 

CHAPTEB XII. 

FAOB 

My New Balloon " Britannia " 229 

Balloon Biot at Leicester • . - . . . * . . 230 

By an Eye-witness 233 

Compensation for the Loss sustained 235 

Mr. Glaisber renders Friendly Aid 236 

Ascents in Ireland, 1864 and 1865 237 

A Lecture on Ballooning 239 

Ascent of my New Balloon ** Besearch " from Belfast, 1865 . . 240 

CHAPTEB XIIL 

War Balloons and a New Method of Filling them .... 248 

A Presentation 254 

Forming a German Balloon Corps 255 

A French Aeronaut and his Wife at Sea 256 

My Last Public Ascent 257 

APPENDIX. 

Crossing the Atlantic with a Balloon . . . ... . 260 

The Balloon Ascents of 1888 278 



LIST OF ILLUSTEATIONS. 



Fbontisfiece— Military BalloomBg, Working the Signals. 



■ji 



TO VACB PAGB 

1. — ^The Use of Aerial Torpedoes 6 

2. — The Principle of Gamerin*s and Le Tour's Parachute . . 17 

3. — Professor Baldwin's Parachute 22 

4. — Balloons used by the French during the Revolutionary War . 46 

6. — ^A Fatal Balloon Descent 59 

6. — First Ascent from Wolverhampton 106 

7. — Ascent of my Mammoth Balloon from the Crystal Palace . 116 
8. — Ascent of Mr. Glaisher and myself to an Elevation of Seven 

Miles 136 

9. — Ascent from Winchester 164 

10. — Descent at Newhaven 164 

11. — ^Ascent from Wolverton 170 

12. — Nadar*s Wicker Cottage or Car 205 

13.— M. Godard's Fire Balloon 209 

14. — Inflation of a War-Balloon 248 

15.— My Last Public Ascent 258 

14. — Nadar's Ideas 273 

13.— Nadar's Screw Air Ship 274 



INTRODUCTORY REMARKS 
PART II. 



5|K continuing my " Life and Expebienoes," 
which broke off at the end of Volume I. for 
reasons therein explained, I do not purpose to 
dwell upon the entire series of incidents which have 
befMllen me, bnt merely to allnde to a few of thoBe events 
in my career which may haply afford entertainment and 
instruction : some pages will be reserved for an account 
of the High Aaeents which were made in behalf of the 
British Association, as I am anxious to do full justice 
to Mr. Glaisher in his persevering efforts and meteoro- 
logical observations which commenced in the year 1862, 
and were carried on in various places for three successive 
years. 

My own version of these travels in the upper air will not 
affect to imitate, bnt will follow and supplement those des- 
criptions which have already been ho ably given ; and I shall 



J 



X INTRODUOrOEY REMARKS. 

confine my remarks to a considertition of the practical and 
aeronautical resalts of oiii' voyages : by this means I shall 
be enabled to formulate my own impressions which have 
not yet been pnbHshed. 

It may, and I trast will be, gathered from what 1 
have written in my previona volume, that my chief motiTO 
for adopting "Ballooning" professionally, was not 
mere idea of makiug money, hut a desire to master thl 
TariouB and difficult problems of aerial navigation, so 
to apply the knowledge thus obtained to Military and 
Meteorological uses. And I may perhaps be permitted 
to observe at the outset that, although I never ceased I 
give constant attention to the question of "propulsion, 
and have always been prepared to give due weight to thft 
views of those who were better able than myself to fontt 
theories on the subject, yet, personally, I could nev 
imagine a motive power of sufficient force to direct ai 
guide a balloon, much less to enable a man or a machii 
to fly. I have seen bo many failures and so many ahsun 
plans devised, that I am at a loss to understand hoi 
ingenious men, possessed no doubt of ordinary mechanita 
instinct, could have reasonably looked for success in thif 
direction. 

Even when, so recently as 1884, the discoveries 



INTBODUCTOBY BEMABES. Xi 

electricity had been utilized by Captain Benard and 
M. Ereby and also by the Brothers Tissandier, I felt 
certain that the difSculties to be surmounted would not 
be overcome unless — ^which is, of course, out of the 
question — the air should invariably remain in a calm 
state. 

Too much praise, however, cannot be awarded to these 
enterprising and scientific aeronauts for their noble 
efforts in the world of aerostatic science. 

I do not, however, condemn as valueless the efforts 
made to solve a well-nigh insoluble problem, for certainly 
the principles of the flight of birds are better understood 
than they were, and this circumstance alone would stamp 
as valuable the results arising from the interchange of 
opinions which have been elicited at the Meetings of 
the Aeronautical Society of Great Britain, as well as at 
the Balloon and other Associations in different parts 
of the Continent and in America : and even without 
the discovery of a motive power at once lighter and 
stronger than at present exists, experts might, I believe, 
under existing circumstances, get more work out of 
balloons, especially in the direction of Military and 
Meteorological requirements. 



MY LIFE 

AND 

BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 




CHAPTER I. 

MY FIBST WAR BALLOON, WITH SIGNALS ATTACHED. 

F the London and Provincial newspapers are referred 
to for the month of September, 1854, it will be seen 
that on the 7th of that month I ascended from the 
Surrey Zoological Gardens with the object of demon- 
strating to the public — and thereby perchance attracting the 
attention of the Government to — a new plan of signalling 
in the air. 

In the announcements sent forth by Mr. Tyler, the 
spirited manager of this famous place of amusement, it 
was stated that " The object of the aeronaut was to rescue 
ballooning from the imputation that it presented no 
practical results, and to show that it was possible to 
convert it into a medium for conveying important intelli- 
gence." The spectator, it was further observed, "will 
suppose the balloon, when he sees it let up in a captive 
or free state, to be floating at a certain altitude, over a 
beleaguered fortress, the authorities in communication 
with it having the key of the signals, and seeking to 

1 



obtain, through these means, information as to the 
approach of an enemy, 

" It is obvious, from the altitude of the balloon (he it 
more or less, according to the weather), that by the aid of 
glasses a vast distance around may be subjected to the 
minutest scrutiny, and a constant comnmnication kept np 
with the authorities in the fortress. Of coarse, by a 
preconcerted arrangement, each signal will convey any 
sentence, word, or letter, previoasly agreed npon, and the 
number of signals may be increased ad libitum, by variety 
in their shape and colour. 

" The fortress may be sapposed to be Sebaatopol, and 
the following commauications, by way of illastration, will 
be made from the balloon : — 

" No. 1. — Distant approach of the Fleet and Transports. 

" „ 2. — Landing of the Allied Forces, 

" ,, 3. — Position taken up by the Troops. 

" „ 4. — Erection of Batteries. 

" ,, 5. — The different positions attacked- 

" „ 6. — Final triumph of the Allies and surrender of 
the Fortress to the united arms of England, 
France, and Turkey." 

A leading jouinal of the day, after describing this 
aeronautical ventuie, proceeds to explain that : — " The 
aeronaut, who set in operation once more his signals, was 
well understood in the working of these by those who were 
in possession of the key to them, and they resembled 
somewhat those which were formerly used on the roof of 
. the Admiralty. When he had reached a considerable 
I altitude, ho liberated a number of pigeons, which he 



BALLOON EXPEBIENOES. 3 

considered as useful auxiliaries for warfare. The idea is 
ingenious, and we must admit that the signals were worked 
with much dexterity." 

An extract of a more humorous character will suffice to 
fihow the kind of reception awarded to the first display of 
the sort that had ever been advanced in a branch of science 
which has since for many years occupied serious attention, 
and which has not only been improved upon by myself in 
the year 1882, but subsequently by Mr. E. Bruce and 
others ; as also by Major Jones, E.E., whose suggestions, 
however, were more especially confined to small balloons. 

WAB BALLOONS. 

" Mr. Henry Coxwell, ready,** thus wrote the Morning 
Advertiser, ** like a true patriot, to serve his country when 
his country calls, and fly to her aid to Olympus high, when 
danger threatens, has turned his attention to the uses to 
which, in these piping times of war, ballooning may be 
applied. Indignant at the airy nothingness which the 
ascending experiment has hitherto revelled in, and resolved 
io entirely put aside all attempts to pander to the morbid 
appetite for objectionable performances, he has conceived 
ihe idea of * taking stock ' of a threatened fortress, by 
balloon survey, and has invented a set of signals, by which 
he can communicate either disastrous intelligence or 

* something to their advantage.' 

** The Gardens were crowded when the noble vessel, 

* like a thing of life,' showed herself anxious to spring to 
her native element and leave this grovelling earth, and 

" All meaner things, 

To low ambition, and the pride of kings. 



MY LIFE AND 



^M " Attached to the hoop, and hanging helow the ca,r, waa 
^fe ft large signal appamtns. 

^^ft " Mr. Coxwell was furnished with a bag of pigeons, and 
^^ftAdmiral C. despatched one of thorn, when he had reached 
^V a high altitude, to the War Office, it was said, announcing 
^m that he had hoisted his Sag and sailed from London. 
V " Another pigeon was sent to the Admiralty, bnt, mis- 
taking his way, the conmninication was opened, and the 
' secret service ' became known. 

"Several other pigeons were seen to direct their oonrse 

I to the Foreign Office, and one knowing bird flew direct to 
the Stock Exchange." 
But let ua pass by the gibes and flaunts of the literary 
penman and turn awhile to an account, conceived in a 
more earnest spirit, of a 
NIGHT BALLOON ASCENT AT LEEDS. 
" On Monday, the scientific aeronaut, Mr. Coxwell, made 
ft second night ascent from the Royal Gardens, Headingly, 
near Leeds, with his celebrated War Balloon, exhibiting, 
at a great elevation, the nocturnal signals which he has 
proposed for war purposes. The balloon which Mr. Coxwell 
has BO frequently ascended with on the Continent, by 
express command, before the King of Prussia, King 
Leopold, the Emperor of Austria, and the King and Queen 
of Saxony, is of large proportions- The balloon was 
beautifully illuminated by means of coloured fires connected 
with the signals, which burst forth, illuminating the earth 
below and the air for miles around. Afterwards he let go 
a kind of bombshell, which descended, the sheila bursting 
above the earth, and the sharp sounds of their explosion 



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BALLOON EXFEBIENGES. 5 

reyerberating among the hills and adjacent country. The 
descent took place at Eebroyd^ near Bipponden, five miles 
from Halifax and twenty from Leeds." 

The engraving illustrates the plan I adopted in Berlin 
and Elberfeld. 

So far back then as the Crimean War period, my experi- 
ments, while they met with public approval as a ** spectacle," 
were far from being seriously regarded or turned to account 
by those in authority, and it needed many years of perse- 
verance on my part ere a real military trial took place at 
Aldershot. I had hammered away in The Times for little 
less than a decade, when I was requested to be present at 
a sham fight, and to ascend from Thorn Hill with Captain 
Beaumont, B.E., several staff oflScers having previously 
made captive ascents. 

As I intend to bring my autobiography to a close in the 
present volume, space fails me to refer to more than two 
other journeys in this year, and, as variety is said to be 
charming, I desire to place before my readers something 
extremely opposite to Warfare and Bombshells. 

AMUSING SCENES AND SURPRISES. 

Aerial travels admit of anecdotes having a gay as well 
as sombre colouring. The very act of getting away from 
this our planet, is often attended with exciting surroundings, 
especially when a lofty tower, a church steeple, or a row of 
trees, happens to come in dangerous proximity. Then 
again, the behaviour of companions, no less than their 
motives for going up, affords ample scope for adventure, 
while as to the return to mother earth, something en-, 
livening is almost sure to crop up, especially if one drags 



r 

f Ian 

I 



MT LIFE AND 



through a corn field, and has to settle with an exacting^ 
land-owner, inclioed to be ha.sty and not charitably disposed 
towards those who nnawares and without invitation, drop 
in upon him from the heavens. 

Volume I. concluded with an account of a night in the 
ields not far from Basingstoke, as I jumped oat of the 
wicker basket, to the astonishment of a farm labourer, 
who rushed to his companions in utter bewilderment ; and 
well he might, for men on their way to work at early dawn, 
do not as a rule tumble acrosB a prostrate balloon and & 
still more prostrate " ballooaer." 

I have, on many occasions, bad rather droll interviews 
vrith the country folks, and at the risk of potting aside 
reckonings, elevations, and fignrea, I will on this occasion 
confine myself to the more attractive part of two journeys, 
which were made in the year 1854 ; the first may be 
characterised as 

THE FABMER AND THE AEEONAUTS. 

I bad ascended with the late Mr. B. 0. Conquest, and 
Mr. John AUan from London ; it wns the birthday of the 
former gentleman, and be resolved to commemorate it aloft. 
As regards the ascent, they were of one mind, bat there 
was a difference of opinion about the descent ; Mr. Allan 

I wished to get as far away from home as possible, bat Mr. 
Conqaeat preferred not to pass the twenty mile radios, as 
his family and a host of visitors, would be at bis palatial 
establishment in the City Eoad, looking for his return; 
his views prevailed, and the balloon alighted near Barnet. 
My companions, both of them corpulent men, had 
prepared themselves for a bamp. This precaution, how- 



BALLOON EXPEBIENOES. 7 

ever, was not necessary on this occasion, as there was not 
much wind blowing, ** There will be no rough work to-day/' 
I observed, '* we shall be received with open arms by that 
group in the next field." 

" They do not ask us down," observed Mr. Conquest, as 
the grapnel lodged in a hedge, where the people were 
standing. 

** No," I replied, " they certainly do not, and I observe 
one man who appears to direct the movements of the rest, 
he holds aloof, and tells them not to touch the balloon.*' 

I then addressed this gaunt ill-conditioned fellow, and 
asked him to take a glass of Mr. Conquest's champagne. 

** No," said the farmer, " hang your wine, I want your 
money." 

" What for ? " I asked. 

" What for ! " he replied, " why, damages." 

'* Damages," I cried, " where are they to be found ? " 

" Do you think," said he, " that a lot of people can come 
into my field without doing mischief? I want to be paid." 

Astonished at the demand, we all protested, and, 
fortunately, no gas as yet had been let off, nor was the car 
in their grasp. I whispered, therefore, to Mr. Conquest 
that he had better get out and work his way home as best 
he could. I also asked him when he left, to go and fetch 
the grapnel and place it outside the car, but before doing 
so, I let off a quantity of gas, and asked two or three men 
to hold on, and after Mr. Allan and I had possession of the 
iron, I again asked the farmer, who had a long stick in his 
hand, to prove damage and not imagine it. 

*' That can be done presently," he replied, " I want 



IS MY LIFE AND 



r 

^H three pounds, and I shall stick to yon and your balloon 

^V until it is pnid." 

^M " Will you indeed," was the cart reply, when Mr. 

^B ConqneBt, who had been apprised of my intentions, cried 

" out, " Hands off there, I'll settle this matter ; " in a trice 
np shot the balloon, leaving the farmer considerably 
amazed, and, as we heard nest day from Mr. Coiiqaest, 
fearfully enraged at being licked and laughed at on his own 
grounds. After our flight to Tittenhanger, he pounced 
npon Mr, Conquest, who dryly said, "Nay, I am only a 
passenger, and merely reqniie twelve men and true at a 
shilling apiece, to show me the way to the railway station." 
" Here yon are, Sir, to any number, and as to that 
greedy hound, if he lays bands on you, or interferes in any 
', we'll duck him in hia own horee pond— this way. Sir, 
for the up train, no one shall harm you." 

At the second landing wa had quite another reception, 
being invited to dinner and provided with beds, and, what 
is more, sent on oar way next morning in a carriage to 
catch the train. 

MY B4LL00N DESCENDS IN ESSEX BY NIGHT, 

creating no small amount of surprise and alarm, and no 
wonder either, considering the singular circamstancea 
under which it left the earth. 

I was asked to ascend oncG more from the Globe Crardens, 
Mile End Road, as Mr. Francis, the manager, was going to 
have a benefit, and his application to me came just at a 
time when I was commencing to rc-varniah the required 
balloon, which had been so frequently used that it became 
and although I had a second machine, I was 



. BALLOON EXPEBIENCES. 9 

preyented from using it as it had gone off to Sheffield by 
rail, so that I had to do what I could with the faulty one. 

The weather, though fine, was too hot for a balloon just 
oiled, indeed, a moist atmosphere would have suited it 
better than a broiling sun. 

It was to be a nocturnal ascent, with pyrotechnic signals, 
and a general display of fireworks beneath the car. 

Had the atmospheric conditions been of a humid and 
cloudy character, the holding powers of the silk would have 
passed muster fairly well, but it was evident to those 
possessing experience in such matters, that there would be 
a considerable loss of gas ; at any rate it became doubtful, 
to me personally, whether sufficient ascending power 
would be retained to carry me up with the heavy mass of 
fireworks which had been prepared. 

As the wind was comparatively still, I was enabled to 
make such a test of the ascending power as to leave no 
doubt about there being a vast deficiency in this respect ; 
so that I had, first of all, to turn over in my own mind 
what to do in order to ensure the balloon going up with 
at least part of the fireworks. Well, I hit upon a plan 
which I had never tried before, and unfolded it to those 
who were as much interested as I was in giving satisfaction 
to the spectators. 

There was, as may be imagined, a strictly private con- 
versation amongst ourselves, and I was compelled to 
intimate that there was some danger as to a failure, unless 
they approved of, and assisted in, a novel kind of strateg}^ 
which would give no offence, and might, perhaps be pro- 
ductive of no inconsiderable degree of satisfaction. 



1 



10 MY LIFE AND 

" Then how are we to co-operate ? " asked the proprietor. 

Being thus challenged to reveal the plot, I said : — "You 
will have to provide us with a sack filled with straw, also a 
mop, and a hat, and if you can throw in a false wig and 
whiskers, and a face without much coloui' on it, we shall 
then be in a position to meet any emergency, hy having a 
dummy substitute as aeronaut." 

' Be sure, Francis, there is no failure," cried Mr. 
Gardner, " and I would suggest," he added, " that the 
concert should commence earlier than expected, bo as to 
draw the people away from the enclosure while you are 
hatching your eggs, fur I perceive this ia a dodge of yours, 
Prancis, and if it succeeds we shall think no worse of you, 
hut if there ia a row, and no ascent, this will be your last 
benefit." 

When it was pitch dark and the visitors had re-assembled 
round the balloon, there arose a cry for lighting np, but 
the Manager pointed out that ablaze of light might en- 
danger the undertaking, and, my voice being heard in 
confirmation of this protest, the pseudo aeronaut essayed 
to get in the car, an operation which he eventually suc- 
ceeded in accomphshing without his real nature beinj; 
discovered by a lynx eyed pnbhc. 

Then the tail end of the paper tubing was ignited, and 
the balloon rose in capital form, many cheering, while one 
cried out, " Good night, CoKwell, a safe landing and 
pleasant trip ; " another person, said to be a foreigner, 
Bung out " bon voyage." Thus, amid many good wishes 
and general satisfaction, the sole occupant of the cai- (the 
dummy), preserved his composure, though some did con- 



BALLOON EZPEBEBNOES. 11 

aider that he nodded most affably his entire approval of 
the good wishes expressed. 

When once the fireworks were ablaze, and the dummy 
balloonist became diminished in the distance, the veritable 
aeronaut might have been seen by those in the secret, to 
be retiring enveloped in a cloak, and his hat being jammed 
over a pair of huge false whiskers. The spectators did 
not notice the disgoised individual, who, to avoid a too 
close scrutiny, lost no time in quietly stealing away while 
aU eyes were turned aloft. Nor did he remain long within 
the precincts of the Globe Pleasure Grounds ; the air was 
so heavy he could not breathe freely, until he reached 
his home at Tottenham, when mirabile dictu the atmo- 
sphere suddenly improved, and a change came over the 
spirit of the scene. Yet even now, after the lapse of years, 
I well remember how glad I felt at escaping recognition ; 
an angry and incensed crowd is not too nice a companion. 

Fortunately I had not omitted to fix cards to the car and 
net work, requesting to be informed where the descent 
took place ; so on the following afternoon I went over to see 
if any tidings had arrived. I was ushered into the presence 
of the proprietor, who chanced to have with him a visitor ; 
this latter, noticing my anxious looks and earnest enquiry, 
and hearing my name, said : — " There has been the deuce 
to pay down where I live, Mister, about your balloon." 

I ventured to hope that "no lives were lost/* thinking 
it just possible that the gas might have been fired when 
the balloon landed. 

" Lives lost," said the farmer ; " why there was none to 
lose. One fellow found by my man Joe, was thought to 



r 

I: 



I 

I 



12 MT LIFE AND 

haTe expired, and certainly all the life he ever had waa out 
of him, hut you know, and I know, that he never had any^ 
Mister." 

" Tou mean the figure, the effigy, I presume ; do tell as 
all ahout it old friend ; nothing very aerioos I can perceive 
by your looks, and by Mr. Gardner's aa well." 

" I was called up this morning," said the farmer, " bood. 
after six o'clock, onr foreman hegging me to hasten down 
to the long mead, and to bring laj gun, as there was some 
monster a-rolling about in the agony of death. ' He 
has got a large eye or mouth at the top of his crown,' 
continued Joe, 'and none of the men will face him ; there 
is also a homary sized man dca,d on the grass.' " 

"After taking down my gun," pursued the &rnief^ 
"Joe led me to where ray men were gathered; the monsteri 
was behind a high hedge at this time, but it was bobbing. 
about pretty briskly, and no sooner had I led them on 
over another iield, than I stopped full short, and they all' 
thought that I was done with fright," 

"I've a great mind," aaya I, "to stand off about t^ 
rods, and let fly both barrels among ye. Don't ye know, 
Joe," I says, " what that is ? " 

" No," was the answer, " do you Master ? " 

"Well, that's a balloon, Joe, that is, and I am that 
ashamed of you all for your ignorance. But, there, coma 
along, maybe there's someone hurt." And then I founet 
your deputy or effigy, as you call him, but I see very littte 
family likeness." 

"After that I read your orders on the ticket, but instead 
of slitting your balloon up, I pulled the valve open and 



BALLOON EXPEBIENCES. 13 

set onr fellows to poll down the netting, as I had seen 
done before in another part of the connty, and to make a 
long story short, Mister, the balloon is all right in the 
basket, and it is at your service, and I rejoice at your good 
luck in not having lost it." 

After congratulating the farmer for his skill and friendly 
attention, I, of course, insisted upon his accepting some 
remuneration. 

" No," he said, '* I've told my friend Gardner that I 
want nothing of that sort, but if, some day, you like to 
take me to the upper regions " 

'^ He is a stupid," cried a female, as she joined us in 
the room, '^ and how can you be such a fool, Thomas, to 
think of such a thing," said his better half, as she was 
introduced by Mr. Gardner. 

Thomas, however, vowed that he certainly would have 
an aerial outing or " inning," some day, and I agreed 
to gratify his wish whenever he might come, but, with a 
significant look at the good lady, I made his wife's consent 
a necessary part of the contract. 

DEATH OF A FRENCH AERONAUT AT TOTTENHAM. 

Although I have lived for thirty-seven years in the 
neighbourhood of Tottenham, yet I was never called upon 
but once to be a juryman at an inquest in this part of the 
county, and my attendance on the occasion in question was 
touching the death of Monsieur Le Tour, aged forty-nine, 
who died from injuries, sustained in a parachute descent 
which was made in the year 1854 on the marshes, very near 
to the spot where the late M. L'Hoste and M. Mangot landed 
after their famous trip from Cherbourg in the year 1886. 



MX LIFE AND 



F 

^H Several ascents and many descents have from time to 
^V time taken place at Tottenham — four by myself and one 
^M by Mr. W. Barker and Mr. Sntton. The last I undertook 
^P was on a great day of rejoicing on the day of the marriage 
■ of His Eoyal Highneas the Prince of Wales. 

Many men of learning and science have, in my recollec- 
tion, Hved in this part of Middlesex. The celebrated Luke 
I Howard, Meteorologist, for one, who gave to the cloada and 
their modifications those descriptive names which have 
been generally accepted; here, too, his benevolent and 
religioas sons, John and Robert Howard, reaided- 
were eminent chemists and scientific men ; a son of the 
former is the present Joseph Howard, M.P, 
The families of the Fowlers and the Forsters, including 
the late Secretaiy for Ireland, are also well known there ; 
and Alderman Sir Thomas Owden, when be was Lord 
Mayor, bad bis mansion in this parish. Among medical 
men of considerable ability ia Dr. W, Hall, who still 
occupies the identical house in which Sir Aatley Cooper 
formerly resided. Thus much for a digression. 
Not being present at Cremorne Gardens when M. Le 
Tour's parachute was attached to the balloon, I had no 
opportunity of noticing its form or the preparations. I 

I was at home in the garden, keeping a watch on the quick 
ti'aveUing clouds aa they came from the Metropolia, bat I 
rather felt that the balloon wonld ascend alone, as it 
not a day at all suited for a parachute descent. On they 
both came, however, rather earlier than I expected, and I 
perceived that neither were in good trim ; they were driven 
by the wind at a shai'p pace, and with the aid of my 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 15 

father's old spy-glass, the same I lodked through, at nine 
years of age, at Green's halloon, I saw that something was 
amiss with the parachute. It seemed to hang awry, and 
to haye no car like Gamerin's or Gocking's, but a cross 
kind of seat, with wings above, which appeared most 
perilous, and too unprotected for safety. 

As some townsmen were looking up at the same moment, 
I said : — " That thing will never surely be cut away on a 
day like this." 

It passed on about a mile to the south of our house, and 
feeling sure that no attempt would be made at landing or 
separating until a more open country, without numerous 
houses, had been reached, I did not follow, having been 
frequently disappointed as a youth in hunts of this sort ; 
but no great length of time had elapsed before some one 
came in with the sad particulars that a hasty descent had 
been made, and that Mr. Adams, the balloonist, was all 
right, but the Frenchman, whose parachute had not been 
let go, was much injured by being dragged over the ground 
and through the trees, so that it was necessary to convey 
him to the Railway Tavern, Park Lane, where the poor 
fellow was for ten days bed-ridden. His injuries were 
internal and severe, but he retained his national vivacity in 
the midst of his trouble and pain, fancying to the last that 
he would go up again, and come down in his parachute 
under more favourable circumstances. 

I made it my business to see him daily, and to recipro- 
cate a little of that attention which I had myself received 
in foreign countries when ballooning. There was only one 
friend (M. Franchet) from the land he had not long left 



16 MY LIF£ AKD 



r 

^^B who came to see M. Le Tour, and I feel almoat ashamed 

^^m to own tliat as regards Cremorne or iodeed the metropolia 

^B itself, scarcely a seal came to see the French aeronaub 

^M until I stirred up a few, through shame, to at least appear 

H^ to take an interest in the poor fellow ; but he had a, polite 

and sympathetic well-wisher in the person of M. Franchet, 

who often visited my house after he had seen his fellow 

conntryman, and I am happy to say that he had the best 

of attention, but uot from some of those who ought bk 

have looked after him. 

Further particulars will be best gathered from a report 
of the inquest, when I was one of the jury, 

Oa July 11th, 1854, Mr. Baker, coroner for East 
Middlesex, and a highly-respectable jury, assembled at the 
Bailway Tavern, adjoining the Park Railway Station, 
Tottenham, to inquire touching the death of Monsieur 
Le Tour, a French aeronaut, who died from injuries 
sustained on Tuesday week. The inquiry excited consider- 
able interest, and a large Qumber of scientific gentlemeuj 
including Messrs. Coxwell, Green, and Hampton, of 
aeronautic fame, attended the investigation, Mr. Coxwell 
was one of the jury, and Mr. E. M. Adams, Secretary t» 
Mr. Simpson, the lessee of Cremorne Gardens, from which 
the fatal ascent took place, attended to watch the proceed- 
ings in the unavoidable absence of Mr. Simpson. 

The parachute, which had heen left at the hotel for the 
inspection of the jury, did not appear to have sustained 
much damage. There were no particular marks of violence 
apparent on the unfortunate gentleman's body. 

William Henry Adams stated that he was aeronaut at 



T 



A^Tir: ■ 




.^x 



1M - ^-'-^ 



BALLOON EXPEBIENOES. 17 

Cremorne Gardens. On the 27th June, at about 7 o'clock 
in the evening, deceased descended from the Gardens in his 
parachute accompanied by witness in the balloon. Deceased 
as he sat in the parachute, was enabled, by means of a 
spring attached to a rope, to let himself off. The car of 
the balloon was about eighty feet from where deceased sat. 
M. le Tour, as he was fastened in his seat, moved by 
means of his feet, two large wings, with which he professed 
to be able to guide the machine. When the intended 
dis-union was supposed to have taken place, witness asked 
Mr. Spearman, an amateur, who was with him in the [car, 
if the parachute had opened, as it ought to have done 
immediately. Mr. Spearman replied, "No," upon which 
witness looked over to see the cause, when he noticed that 
the parachute, ropes and all, had become twisted up. As 
the letting go of the parachute would have been instan- 
taneous death to the deceased, witness determined on 
making a final descent in order that deceased might be 
released from his dangerous position. He considered, 
upon reflection, that the dampness of the grass, upon which 
the parachute had lain two hours before the [ ascent, 
accounted for the twisting of the ropes, which were quite 
new. It had not been arranged whether witness or 
deceased should discharge the parachute, although upon 
going up on a former occasion witness did so, and the 
attempt was entirely successful. The descent continued 
until reaching the meadows at Tottenham, where deceased 
bumped several times against the ground, the grapnels of 
the balloon not catching; and as they approached some 
trees, witness endeavoured to escape coming into collision 



O 



18 MT LIFE AND 



1 



r 

^^B with tbem by raising the balloon, but before it had ri 

^^V sufficiently, it passed over the trees, dragging the parach 

^V with great violence throngh the branchea. Having olightei 

^M in the adjoining meadow, the grapnel caught in the stumpi 

H of some trees. The parachute at that time lay at sonii 

distance from the balloon. Deceased was then conveyed 

the Eailway Tavern. 

H^ By the Coroner : While deceased was being dragged 

^B along the ground, the balloon was 125 feet above him, 

^K Some boys endeavoured to catch hold of some of the ropea 

^^ft as they passed along, but they had qnicldy to loose their 

^H hold. Deceased was strapped to his seat, and witness 

^^B considered he might, while dragging along the ground, have 

^^1 loosened the straps and got out. He (witness) was a&aid' 

^B to sever the parachute from the balloon, as dece-ased must 

^^ have been then caught up ty the gi-apnels. The wings of 

the machine, which were made of canvas, remained expanded 

all the time from the ascent to the descent. Deceased wag 

a free agent in the whole transaction, having given all tht 

directions respecting the ascent. Witness had observed tQ 

deceased, before ascending, that the new rope might b4 

affected by the weather, but he replied that that was thf 

French way of doing it. Since the parachute had arrivt 

in this country, it had undergone many alterations undea 

the superintendence of Mr. Simpson, who had it enlarged* 

etc. Witness considered he only acted in the matter 

agent of Mr. Simpson. A small model, together with 

drawings of the parachute, were produced and explained by 

Mr. Coxwell, who observed that the same principle had beea 

adopted as used by Mr. Oreen in his ascent with ths 



i 



BALLOON EXPEBIENCE8. 19 

xmfortnnate gentleman Cocking, and that it had been left 
optional with the person in the parachute to let himself off. 

Mr. Green in reply to a question from the Coroner, said 
that if the ropes, instead of being twisted, had been braided, 
the moisture would not have caused them to crinkle up as 
they did, had that precaution been adopted, the accident 
might not have happened. 

The witness in conclusion said, the machine belonged to 
deceased, and nothing was done without his consent. The 
ropes were all new, since the machine came from Paris. 
Mr. Simpson he understood, suggested the alterations to 
make the machine larger. Nothing, with the exception of 
the new lines, appeared mechanically wrong in the machine 
On the first occasion the machine had been on a warm 
platform, but in the last ascent it remained on the damp 
grass some time. In both ascents the preparations were 
made by the deceased. 

Mr. George Marshall, of Tottenham, stated that he saw 
the balloon descend as he was passing along a meadow. As 
the balloon came towards witness, the man in the car 
called out for the rope to be held. Deceased was then 
dragging along the ground, entangled in the cords. The 
balloon again ascended, passing over the trees and dragging 
the parachute after it, when the machine passed witness, 
deceased appeared to be calling out to those in the car to 
cut away the parachute. When the balloon was secured, 
witness went up and found deceased insensible in the para- 
chute ; he was tightly strapped to the machine, and the 
cords had to be cut before he was released. He was 
bleeding from the forehead ; a little water having revived 



I him, he spoke in French of his arm being injured. The 

I parachute was dragging along the groand for- some distance, 

1 mishap which seemed to cause the mischief, as upon hia 

first descent the man was sensible, and called out to those 

r in the car of the balloon. 

Adams, in reply to a question by the foreman, said that 
I be was afraid to sever the parachute from the balloon, as 
I the gi'apnel irons would have beeen certain to have caught 
1 up again. 

. Marshall, iu continuation, said that while deceased 
[ was dragging along the ground, the grapnel of the balloon 
I was swinging in the air. 

M. Henri Franchet stated that he resided in France, and 
Cabinet Courier. He was acquainted vrith the 
deceased, who was in his forty-ninth year. Witness wit- 
nessed the ascent, which was a most favourable one. The 
arrangement made between deceased and Adams was, that 
the latter should let otF the parachute ; witness saw the 
deceased frequently after the accident, when he told him 
that he should not have been injured had Adams let him 
down before the grapnel touched the ground. Deceased 
suffered from paralysis of the neck, which prevented his 
looking upwards. The ascent was made with the two-fold 
I object of scientific experience and pecuniary gain. Deceased 
rhad made nmneroua ascents in France, three of which 
fwere before the Emperor and Empress, and hia machine 
was patented. 

Mr. J. B. Hicks, surgeon, stated that he attended 
deceased about a quarter of an hour after the accident. 
He was snfiering from a paralysis of the lower extremities 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 21 

and the left arm ; his spine was evidently injured ; three 
ribs were also fractured. His case was hopeless, and he 
gradually sank and died. 

Mr. E. M. Adams, secretary to the Gardens, in explana- 
tion, said that before ascending, deceased expressed himself 
perfectly satisfied with all the arrangements. Mr. Simpson 
asked him to allow a French gentleman, as on a former 
occasion, to accompany him in the car of the balloon, as 
he could not speak English, but he refused to assent. 

After some further evidence had been given, the coroner 
very minutely summed up, commenting feelingly on the 
manner in which persons recklessly risked their lives for 
some paltry lucre, and he remarked that it was high time 
the legislature interposed in putting a stop to such 
dangerous speculations. 

The jury, after a brief deliberation, returned a verdict 
of " accidental death." 

PROFESSOR BALDWIN THE PARACHUTIST. 

Not three miles from Tottenham, where Le Tour died. 
Professor Baldwin, the most expert and successful aspirant 
in this branch of aerostation, appeared in his best form at 
the Alexandra Palace on Bank Holiday, August 6th, 1888, 
and there created a great sensation by his so-called drop 
from the clouds, which, in reality^ was a daring parachute 
descent from a low altitude, but as this fact increased the 
risk, while it gratified the spectators, a decided "hit" was 
made (as the caterers for the public say), especially as the 
balloon is generally made to dart up and descend about 
the same time, or soon after, the parachute, and this 
variation proves a novelty, as does the quick return and re- 



MY LirE AND 



Bfi2 

^K apjiearance of Baldwin on the platform. The seDBational 
^B way in whiuh the three acts of tiie perfonaance are 
^t executed, and the original ai]noimci3ments of A Jump 
H frotn a Balloon, have no doul)t a gi'eat deal to do with the 
B pecuniary success of the undertaking. 

On the day of his beneht I had a chat, for the first time, 
with this dauntless American, and found him a modest 
&nd unassuming man, and there cau be but one opinion as 
to his having extraordinary nerve. I did not obaerve in 
his parachute any indications of the umbrella form such 
BB Mr. Hampton adopted in the year 1838-9, soon after 
Cocking's death. Mr. Hampton descended three times 
successfully; Le Tour made a similai- number of descents; 
Garnerin, the first parachutist in England, in the year 
1802 came down safely. Garuerin's daughter ia said to 

I have come down thirty-nine times in France and other 
places, Madame Poitvein also descended here. 
Many persons who fail to read the latest books on 
l>alloouing, imagine that dropping in a parachute is qoite 
ft new exploit. I have always contended, like Green, that 
tile balloon can be made the best kind of parachute. Mr. 
Qlaisher and I descended at Newhaven in this style, two 
miles in four minutes, after letting nearly all the gas out ; 
and in that most terrific of all recorded di-ops, when 
Albert Smith and myself being iu the car of Mr. Gypson's 
balloon, in the year 1847, we ascended from Vauxhall 
Gardens, I was the means of turning the balloon into a 
parachute, which saved om- lives. 

Professor Baldwin has made, up to the time I am writing, 
nineteen descents, and is pre-eminently smart and fortunate. 



r 



..*-•'' 



■J I- ^^ 



\ 






.^* 



U 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 23 




CHAPTER 11. 

T being impossible for me, in this second part of my 
life, to do more than select a few out of the hundreds 
of trips I have made, it is impracticable to avoid a 
certain amount of desultoriness, owing to the hap-hazard 
selection of the most interesting experiences I have under- 
gone. 

One of the counties I visited, in 1857, was Devonshire. 

I left North Woolwich about eleven o'clock at night, 
and got into Tavistock soon after daylight next morning. 
When it is considered that the distance is nearly 250 miles, 
it may, perhaps, be surmised that I was fortunate in 
catching an express train, but in those days " flying 
Dutchmen " were not invented, and even now, while 
wonders of travelling are of an every day occurrence, there 
is a limit to the power of steam. As a matter of fact, 
however, I travelled through the air by balloon, and the 
duration of the aerial voyage being so very much in excess 
of the customary trips in balloons, I will narrate the ex- 
perience which aflforded me and my fellow travellers 

A NIGHT AND MORNING SURVEY OF SEVEN COUNTIES. 

It was on the 15th of June, in the year 1857, that I 
was engaged to ascend from the Pavilion Gardens, North 
Woolwich, but, as wind and weather did not favour the 



,, S4 MY LIFE ADD 



I 

^^m undertaking, a poBtponement was talked of, especially as 

^^1 the inflation bad to be managed a mile away from the 

^V Gardens, cloBe to a new and capacious gas bolder. In the 

^P river Thames, which was only a few hundred yards distant, 

^ the water was very rough, spray dashing over close-reefed 

vessels as they sailed down Woolwich Reach, while the 

smoke emitted from the Arsenal and Dockyard chimneys, 

formed long inky streams, more inclined to go down than 

up ; small boats did not dare to venture across the river, 

for the angiy wind swept over the marshes and seemed to 

roar forth a note of WHruiag. It was no fit occasion, to 

expose a hiilloon, distended with gas, to the full fury of 

the gale, with the risk that it would be blown into ribbons 

before it could pass over the trees which formed the 

boQndary of the Gardens. 

This being the kind of day, I resolved to await the turn 
of the tide, and be ready to avail myself of a lull ; no 
matter how late the ascent, it would never do to disappoint 
the visitors in toto. 

Sure enough, at 7 p.m., a chance presented itself, anct 
the word was soon passed, all being previously in readiness, 
" to turn on " the gas. The filling ocuupied only an hooT' 
and-a-half, but when inflated the machine was nearly un- 
manageable, and it was no easy task to let it up gradually 
with ropes so us to escape the trees, and had not an 
encampment of gipsies outside the gardens rendered 
assistance, the breeze which still blew hard would have, 
been too much for us. 

Once within the sheltered haven where all was mada 
snug, our anxiety as to the possibility of ascending was 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 25 

allayed, and before it grew quite dark we were at anchor in 
the enclosure, while a display of fireworks was quickly 
improvised, and it was announced that it was to be a night 
ascent; so at 11.80 p.m. Mr. Henry Youens and Mr. J, 
Allan joined me in the car, and in the midst of a royal 
salute away we bounded, cheers, fireworks, and good wishes 
greeting us and blending as we shot across the river, when 
the lights of Greenwich were soon under us, and ahead, 
was all London in a blaze of gas light. Passing over 
Kennington Oval, Vauxhall Bridge, and Battersea, we next 
heard a Scotch polka being played in Cremorne Gardens. 

It was barely a few minutes later when Richmond was 
descried, and as the upper breeze remained fresh, we held 
consultation as to whether we should go down or keep up 
until daylight broke ; I pointed out the risk of the former 
alternative, and for my own part, I was glad that my com- 
panions agreed to go on, as a landing in the dark is not 
one of the delights of ballooning. 

During the darkest part of our travel we heard the mid- 
night hour strike, and this induced us to look about and 
make sure that we had not reached some sea-port ; as, if it 
were so, the bells might be the last we should hear, for if once 
we were blown towards the sea, the broad Atlantic was in 
front, a fact which made us search diligently for land marks. 

Although we could detect scattered lights on the sombre 
landscape, still we were not at all sure as to our distance 
from the coast. 

" Listen," I cried, " I heard surely the crying of sea- 
bh-ds." 

A pause ensued, while we noticed lights looming unde? 



, 36 



I 

^^B the haze, which at times resembled water, and a tail like 
^^1 that of a comet was to be discerned ; beyoud was a black 
^V patch of considerable size, but the colour outside of it was 
^1 of a hghter tinge. 

^^ " That is the Isle of Wight iu the distance," I explained, 

^1 " and the tail is the water from Southampton ; we have 
^P passed it now, and are wearing more south. Can you see 
to read the Aneroid, Youeua ? " 

" Impossible, too dark for that." 

" Throw out paper then, and note whether it goes up or 

tdown, we are over seventy miles from London already. I 
would rather not open the yalve unless we are compelled 
to land." 

Pieces of hght tissue paper were found to be rising 
apwards, a certain sign that we were sinkiag, which would 
have been noticed sooner, had we been able to read the 
barometer. 

We had no Davy lamp, and very httle to refresh onr- 
selves with, as this was not a premeditated journey, bo that 
we were unprepared for a chapter of accideuta. 

It was most advisable then not to cease peering about 
nntil we could obtain more exact evidence as to the 
probable distance of the coast line. We were evidently 
wearing in a more southerly direction than we expected. 

At one time we were hoping that the balloon would 
stand in more towards Bristol, but now that we seemed to 
be leading away lower down, it would never do to rest ontil 
more clearly defined marks presented themselves ae to the 
distinction between land and water. 

As the balloon had beou slowly descending for some 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 27 

time, we had to avoid a close contact with the earth, and 
very careful " jockeyship " was requisite not to touch land 
with an unexpected bump. There was no trail rope in 
the car to relieve us of a certain amount of weight, but 
we managed exceedingly well. The hedge-rows and field 
boundaries were immensely serviceable. 

" Look out there, pay away Allan, let her have it ; don't 
you see that wind-mill ? Out with more ballast Youens. 
I have myself a large bag in reserve. Steady, she ia 
more than a couple of hundred feet above the shafts^ 
My word, and don't they go round sharp ? " 

Fortunately both my friends though amateur aeronauts 
were cool and experienced, indeed Mr. Youens has since 
that event taken to the " profession," while poor Allan 
has gone over to the majority. 

Events were becoming somewhat alarming, but an 
upward tendency was imparted to the balloon by a free 
discharge of sand, and as there was now a gleam of light 
in the eastward, we made the most of it, and could see 
a difference in the colour of what met the eye further 
south. This we took to be the water which was cer- 
tainly too close to be reassuring, but we were scudding 
along just then in a line almost parallel with the darker 
coast ridge ; still a spice of uncertainty surrounded our 
movements, and pleased enough we were as more light 
broke upon the scene, for we had been getting nearer to 
the water while drifting over habitable places in which no 
one seemed to be astir. The feathered tribe had already 
set an example as to early rising ; listen ! don't you 
hear — 



r 



MY LIFE AND 

" Tho lark 
Shrill Yoid'd uid iood, the messenger of mom, 
Ere jet the shsdovs Bj he moimtod smga 
Amid the dawning clouds, imd from their hamita 
CoUb np the timefnl CBtioQS." 



I 



And is it possible that wo heard so distinctly what 
passed below ? 

Tea, at our elevation we did, as we were not more than 
1,700 feet high. 

We bad passed Dorchester, and were mounting up for 
another curve, but bad to check the soaring tendency of 
tbe balloon, for on crossing the river Exe, we were not 
so very far from Sidmouth and Torbay. 

On the silvery river with Exeter on our right, a small 
saiHng craft was seen. 

" Boat ahoy ! How's our course ? " 

" You wiU have Plymouth on your port bow," 

Waving oui acknowledgments, we began to pass over the 
nplands, and allowed the balloon to rise as the land jutted 
out seawards, and we were going over a vast mass of 
uncultivated laud, amidst which we recognized Dartmoor, 
-and tbe prison ; here, as our aueroid could now be read, we 
found that we had risen to an elevation of over 8,000 feet. 

We could see the Bristol Channel and the narrowing 
land. At the next dip, after clearing the moorland, we 
resolved to alight, and found a favourable spot within a 
mile and a half of Tavistock. The grapnel caught in 
a tree close to a farm bouse, but a solitary workman 
seemed so scared with the coinct — as he considered it, there 
being one due — that he fled behind a hedge when we called 
npon him to bold on. 



BALLOON EXPEBIENCES. 29 

Mr. Yonens alighted and went after him to know our 
whereabouts and brought him in by main force, more 
than persuasion, as the looked for comet, and its supposed 
arrival, had taken a large share of the man's physical 
power out of him. He got slightly better when we 
explained what it really was, and he agreed to go to 
Tavistock for a conveyance after he had seen the colour 
of our cash and taken some of it with him to prove that 
it was not counterfeit coin. 

When he started, the gas was let off, and the balloon 
was allowed to dry in a flat state on the greensward. 

The messenger, on returning with a van, as he looked 
above the ground, and not on it, could see no balloon, 
and he bethought himself that the powers of darkness 
were holding their revels, but he was soon undeceived 
and lent us a hand in packing up and getting into the 
town. 

The shops were not open, but we knocked the people up 
at the Bedford Hotel. The landlord, Mr. Northway, 
hardly liked the look of us, and when he was informed 
that we left North Woolwich at 11.30, about five hours 
previously, he shook his head with an amount of doubt 
which was increased after we ordered breakfast. 

" I shall have to trouble you, gentlemen, for the cash 
in advance," said a young person who had probably been 
roused up before her regular time. 

The suspicion created by our early and unusual visit 
was not easily allayed ; during the time we were enjoying 
a substantial meal with plenty of clotted cream on the 
table, the hotel became crowded with the Tavistock people. 



I 



I 



MY LIFE AND 

(md we were asked, on going below, if we could offi 
any decided proof of having ascended irom the spot i 
named. 

Mr. Allan pulled ont the return half of a railway tickd ' 
from Bishopsgate Station to North Woolwich, on it i 
the 15th of June, " And you know," he said, " we havt 
not long entered npon the 16th." 

' That ticket," he added, "I took yesterday aftemooi 
without knowing that I should accompany Mr. CoxweU 
ninch less that I should be down here." 

This had the desired effect and we were pressed to stay, 
but we got on to Pl>Tnouth as quickly as possible, and sent 
off a telegram (the invention was then in vogue), so that 
the next issue of The Times had in it an account of o 
doingB and the public learned that vie bad not, as wai 
supposed, "perished in the sea." 

THE DERBY AUBORETTJM FESTB'AL 

was the next affair I had in hand, and as this great 
anniversary in the midlands came off a few days after t 
voyage into Devonshire, I had enongh to do to get dows 
in time. 

Splendid weather attracted an immense assemblage of 
visitors, who came by rail and road from Birmingham,. 
ShefBeld, Chesterfield, Lincoln, Newark, Nottingham, 
Leicester, Loughborough, and intermediate stations. 
Altogether about 30,000 persons assembled. The mnsical 
attractions were great. 

Fortunately Colonel Bentinck, of the 7th Princess 
Royal Dragoons, having jast arrived at ShefBeld, pet- 
mission was given to the splendid baud of this regiment 




BALLOON EXPEBIENCES. 81 

•to attend. Nicholson's fall band from Leicester, including 
rtixe principal soloists of His Grace the Duke of Butland's, 
JKud the Yeomanry bands and the fine band of the 1st King's 
[• Own Staflford Militia were present, also the drum and flute 
band of the 1st Derby Militia, and the band of the 
Midland Railway Company; then there were glee singers, 
under the direction of Mr. Farmer of Nottingham, who 
helped to gratify the listening throng. Two Russian 
cannon presented and inaugurated at the Arboretum 
grounds were likewise objects of much attraction. I had 
provided, besides the balloon, some aerostatic novelties, 
including a parachute descent, balloon races, and a 
gigantic figure of a man, the latter furnishing much 
amusement to the juveniles, and a fund of merriment, 
tempered with fright to some of them, when he dropped 
down and stepped across the fields with giant strides before 
he was captured. 

I had with me, when the great ascent took place, only 
one passenger, viz., Mr. Foster, of Derby. Another very 
corpulent gentleman ofiered himself, and suggested also 
that he should be thrown out as ballast in case he was too 
heavy. 

The descent was made in Chaddesden Park, the seat of 
Sir H. S. Wilmot, Bart. 

CAUGHT IN A THUNDERSTORM. 

On a second ascent from Chesterfield, when Mr. P. 
Goodwin, of Macclesfield, and Mr. E. Turner, of Sheffield, 
accompanied me, we were carried into the midst of the 
gathering clouds, which began to flash vividly, and in the 
end culminated in a storm. 



82 MY LIFE AND 

There were indications before we left the earth as to 
what might be expected ; the lower breeze took us in 
another direction as we rose, but a gentle whirling current 
higher up got us into the vortex of the highly charged 
clouds. 

These are situations which put one's theoretical notions 
most severely to the test. And assuredly this was the 
case, as we had to prove by absolute experience whether 
the balloon was insulated and a non-conductor. 

An unexpected flash of lightning, followed by others, 
with thunder claps all round you, does not fail to enforce 
the lesson that "discretion is the better part of valour." 
Nor were we at variance in coming to this decision as it 
grew darker and came on to rain. What with the pattering 
of huge drops on the top of our canopy and the dazzling 
flashes that followed, we availed ourselves of a good 
opportunity to get out of it by landing at Ashover, after 
being up about three quarters of an hour. 

A thorough drenching while emptying the balloon was a 
natural consequence, but, as may be supposed, we took 
this in good part, rejoicing that it was no worse. 

SHEFFIELD AND LEEDS. 

After several exhibitions of my balloon signalling at the 
Newhall Gardens at Sheffield, and numerous ascents, I 
went again to the Headingly Gardens at Leeds, Mr. Thomas 
Clapham, the lessee, being a most enterprising man. We 
had, in addition to the ascent. Lord Cardigan's charger on 
view — not in my charge aloft, be it clearly understood, but 
under the care of Corporal Rigby, who seemed proud to 
parade this fine, spirited chestnut horse, and to explain that 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 88 

it was the one his lordship rode at the memorable Balaklava 
Charge, where the corporal was also present himself. 

To keep faith with my engagements at Sir Thomas 
Maryon Wilson's seat, I next was called upon to hasten 
south, as there was to be a fete champetre at Charlton 
House, near Woolwich, in aid of the Boyal Kent 
Dispensary. 

Here I was kindly received by the late Sir Thomas 
Maryon Wilson and the late Mr. Carttar, Coroner for East 
Kent, who ofiSciated as Secretary, and who had himself 
been up with Green, and took a great interest in aerostation, 
as did his son, the present coroner, who was then quite a 
young man. 

There was nothing very remarkable about the ascent, 
beyond its having taken place under difficulties, as many 
hundreds of yards of gas piping had to be brought into 
the park from a main in the high road, which involved 
great expense and trouble. The fete was in every respect 
a success. 

Away north was the next movement made, but I cannot 
attempt to allude to more . than a very few of the under- 
takings with which I was connected. I well remember 
that I had an urgent request to get back home with all 
speed, as I was wanted for the 

* EXPLORATION OF AUSTRALIA WITH BALLOONS. 

The Times had published an article on this proposal, 
not in reference to me personally, but to the subject, and 
Mr. George Coppin, the Australian manager, had arrived in 
London with his head full of ballooning among other things. 

3 



S4 MY LIFE AND 



r 

^M Before returning to Melbourne by the Overland Eoate 

^1 he had given proof of the interest be took, not ool; in the 
H drama at home and abroad, but in all kinds of scientific 
H novelty. 

He had started the Cremorne Gardene at Melbourne, 
and he aspired to display his energy by taking me out with 
him regardless of cost, as he said, to initiate antipodean 
experimenls, preparatory to fostering the idea of aerial 
exploration. 

[ had engagements at the time which prevented me 
from accepting his offer " to stand not," as be put it, 
"npon the order of — leaving the old country^ — ^but to go at 
once." 

Thia was enei^etic and persuasive, but I could not see 
my way to start, I agreed, however, to build a new 
I balloon, and to supply another, as well as an assistant 
I aeronaut. 

This gentleman, Mr. C. Brown, went out and made a 
number of successful ascents, but the exploring expedition 
was never brought to a practical issue, nor, by the way, do 
I believe that it was ever gravely attempted. 

After visiting Nottingham, Leicester, and several other 
towns, I went to Hull, and was there identified with a 
novel kind of gala at the Zoological Gardens of that town, 
which was alluded to in the local and London newspapers 
in a jocose strain. There were in attendance 

500 VENERiBLE VISITORS, 

all of the tender sex, and none of them were leas than 
three-score years of age ; they enjoyed a liberal tea, 
provided by Messrs. Wolfenden and Melbourne, the thea 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 85 

proprietors of the Queen's Theatre (now long since dead) ; 
I was persuaded, and there is no harm in mentioning it, to 
be present in the dancing-room at what was styled a 
preliminary spin among many of these active old souls. 

"I should like to go up with you," said one, "but I 
suppose there's no chance ; anyhow I'll have you on the 
* light fantastic toe,' and catching me by the arm, I was 
led forth captive, and had to assume a gallantry which 
amused these elderly ladies, who afterwards surrounded me 
in the inner circle where they were prominently placed 
some time before the ascent. 

The 6lite of Hull were present, and appeared, to be 
delighted by so many happy, and well behaved visitors 
from a humble station in life. 

Later in the evening, more dancing was indulged in, 
and many young couples were put to shame by the elastic 
movements of the elderly ladies. This last saltatory 
display was after the dear old souls had taken tea, 
but whether the smallest possible quantity of anything 
qualifying had been placed at the disposal of those who 
were not strictly abstainers, I cannot say ; I recollect 
hearing that one or two, after partaking of the " cup that 
cheers," did bound and curvet about with amazing agility, 
but no sensible person thought the worse of them for this 
vivacious outbreak of animal spirits. Of course, the bulk 
of them were long past enjoying a lively skip at a public 
garden treat, and for aught we know it was the last chance 
and flutter of the few who availed themselves of making 
the most of time present. 

Mr. Melbourne and Mr. Huby ascended with me, but 



US IJFE AND 



ft S6 

^^M SB bad luck would have it, one or other of them haying 
^^P had an order to put out sand, did so lather too suddenly, 
^r and the ladies received the contents of a bag when they were 
^R least prepared for such a compliment. 

It eame on hazy after we left, and for a while we were 
ignorant whether our courss was up or down the Humber, 
whether, in fact, we were bound for sea or were going 
inland. As it happened, we pulled up near the river bank 
in a fog that came on. 

"No doubt you could see the broad water just in front 
of you," said a fisherman on the aea wall. 

I dechned myself to reply, as we were not, in truth, 
aware of our position, we could scarcely see the trailing 
of the grapnel, but ignorance of that circumstance being 
bhss to us, I kept a still tongue, and, as the voyagera 
were intent upon retui'ning, as quickly aa they could, to 
then- old ladies, I esciiped the ordeal of being further 
questioned, so that we, one and all, consoled ourselves 
with the capital saying of old — "Ail's well that ends 
well." 

ASCENT BEFORE THE QUEEN AND PRINCE COKSOBT. 

Another anecdote of this heterogeneous mixture of mere 
chat about ballooning must be introduced even at the risk 
of incurring the displeasure of the savants, who will 
exclaim, "But all this is not purely scientific." "No," 
I answer, " nor did I ever promise or attempt to provide 
a treatise of that description ; " I shall have, however, by 
gradual strides to become more sedate and philosophical. 
Meanwhile we will revel in the unscientific, and speak of 
Jioyalty. 



BALLOON EXPEBIENCES. 87 

I have alluded sparingly to this part of my experiences, 
but it has been my lot to look down upon many crowned 
heads, as well as to have looked up to them, the moment I 
re-stepped upon this planet, after so often getting away 
from it. 

It is to an exceptional incident connected with the Royal 
progress through Warwickshire, that I now refer, and 
at this point it may be as well to notice that there are 
some who like a near view of Royalty, and who feel that 
the housetop is rather too far off for feasting the eye 
upon Royal lineaments. On the other hand, there are 
persons who prefer a bird's-eye view, to a good close stare. 

I will leave undecided this question. At any rate 
having built a new balloon, and being invited to attend 
at the Jephson Gardens, Leamington, I did so, hoping 
that the procession could be seen in detail, so as to take 
it in at first from a limited altitude when held by a 
rope, and afterwards in one grand coup d'ceil or panoramic 
view. 

As Her Majesty and the late Prince Consort approached, 
the balloon '* Queen," with the name in letters five feet 
deep, rose from the lawn near the high road. 

At once this imposing feature received the marked 
attention of the Royal party, and of the whole gazing 
multitude. Her Majesty graciously bowed recognition, 
and pleased enough was I to be able to get aloft in time, 
as the last section of the balloon had been joined in a 
surprisingly short space of time, and I could give only 
one coat of varnish to it, so that it was not altogether gas 
tight, as the sequel of the great day's doings will show. 



MT LIFE AND 



On the disappearance of the proceeaion, the inflation, 
which had not been completed, proceeded, until 34,000 
cubic feet of gas, supplied from the Leamington Works, 
had entered. 

It wfta intended, during the afternoon, to repeat the 

partial ascents, but a storm came on, and so greatly 

increased the weight of the balloon with heavy rain, that 

it was with difficulty that the linal ascent took place, and 

had it not been for my determination to run a great personal 

risk, failure must have been the result. 

^L The Parish Chnrch happened to stand in direct line 

^B with the course which my balloon was certain to pnrsae, 

^H, and it was not very far away. Heavy rain had so aoddened 

^H the thinly varnished fabric, that, on testing the power, I 

^H found that I slioald have to go alone, and without ballast 

^B or anchor. 

^B As there was no time to lose, and mattera were not 
^B improving, I cast loose, and was all ready to duck low in 
^B the car iii case of a colUsion, which took place just as I had 
^H raised my bead above the rim of the wicker protection. 
^H For a moment every spectator looked on with alarm, 
^H and many shrieked, as the balloon rebounded and again 
^H closed with the spire, and scraped up towards the top, 
^H where, only a few days previously, had stood a large 
^^B weather-cock, which, fortunately for me, had not long - 
^H been taken down for re-gilding. 

^H Having waved my cap as a signal that I considered, 
^H after a hasty inspection, that there was no rent, I had a 
^V deafening cheer. 
H^ The "Queen" now rose splendidly, as if destined to 



BALLOON EXPEBIENCES. 89 

surmount every obstruction; but high up, the lightning 
flashed and the thunder rolled, still the balloon passed 
on unhurt, and I was able to make a safe landing near 
Chesterton windmill ; but, owing to the want of ballast, 
and the absence of a grapnel, I had a rough, dragging 
landing, and for a time could get no assistance. 

At the nearest farm house I found that everybody of much 
consequence had gone to see the real Queen, and the 
procession, so that my Queen, after descending from her 
aerial throne, had no admirers, save a party of gipsies ; these 
however, though of equivocal appearance, proceeded to get 
one of their small traps, though it was barely strong enough 
to carry the balloon, which weighed at least four cwt. 

" You are a long way from the high road," said the 
chief spokesman, who had a horrid cast in one eye, and a 
nasty glare in the other. 

" Well, go and fetch whatever you have," I said. 

I was not sorry to be left alone for a short time, as it 
suddenly came to my recollection that I had more money 
about me than I considered it safe to carry in such company 
as that amongst which I had been thrown. 

I had just time to put a cheque and some gold in a sand 
bag and tuck it safely down beneath the compact folds of 
the balloon. In my waistcoat pocket I discreetly placed 
half-a-crown, which done, I detached the liberating trigger 
from the hoop and located this formidable piece of iron 
mechanism in my coat pocket, then I concealed from view 
my knife with a long blade ; while these operations were in 
progress, three gipsies came back with a grey pony and a 
rattle-trap affair, which had to go over muddy ruts and up 



40 1£Y LIFE AND 

a conntry lane, and while we were in this lonely part, the 
trio came much nearer to me than I cared about, end spoke 
about terms. 

" What is a fair charge ? '* I asked, 

" Well, fifteen shillings won't hurt you," was the reply. 

"If I had that amount about me," I said, " you should 
have it, but the moment you get me ba^k to the Gardens 
at Leamington, you shall have that, and somethiug besides. 
The truth is, I came away in a hurry, as a atorm was 
imminent. Look here," I continued, " I Lave half-a- 
erown, which we will spend on the road, and I guarantee 
you a good supper, and one of Her Majesty's golden coins 
to the tune of a sovereign, when I see the manager of the 
gardens." 

When once we got ont of that long lane and trod on the 
high road, I felt that danger had decreased. 

At last we sighted a roadside house, and there I sent 
them in to change the half-crown, and get what they hked 
while I looked to the pony and my luggage. 

"Yon had better drink with us," they said, and as all 
three waited at the door, I thought it expedient to do so. 

They handed back some change, a considerate act for 
which I was hardly prepared; "perhaps," I thought, "I 
am doing these queer looking people a great injustice;" and 
when we arrived, I had reason to know that this was the case. 
However, my ballast bag was withdrawn from its place 
of safety without their percfiiving me in an act of which I 
felt ashamed, and my ungenerous suspicions were followed 
by the good supper and payment I had agreed to make 
after the balloon had been deposited in safety. 



BALLOON EXPEBIENCES. 41 




CHAPTEK III. 

INTERESTING TRIP FBOM OHESTEB. 

HE spot from which I started was a paddock at 
Gray Friars, and I was accompanied by Herr A. 
Vogel of Berlin, Mr. G. Haswell of Chester, "and 
Mr. J. B. Marsh. 

Exactly at twenty minutes to eight we were 

" In happy freedom, pleased to feel the wind, 
And wander in the luxury of air.'* 

The view of the city was very fine, and the passengers 
were called upon to note several difi'erent scenes, all of 
which were interesting. We appeared to have scarcely 
risen above the houses, before, like a picture, the Eoodee, 
with its white tents, the walls thronged with people, the 
castle with a crowd in front of the grand entrance, the 
beautiful tent in the Linen Hall, the New Bridge, Curzon 
Park, the Old Bridge, Causeway, and the Circus Tent near 
St. John's Churchyard, all lay spread before the eye. 

The appearance of the streets was droll ; the houses 
looked as though the roofs had been cut oJBf and stuck upon 
the ground, nothing could be seen of them except the slates 
and chimneys. St. Peter's Church, the Cathedral, St. 
John's, and other churches appeared very much diminished 
in height. 



42 MY LIFE AND 

We ascended rapidly from the moment of starting, the 
wind blowing from the W.S.W., and in three minutes 
the '' Queen " attained an altitude of 8,000 feet, the hum 
of the noisy city was then altogether lost, and as we 
passed over the railway station, the town of Chester faded 
in the distance. 

Having produced several bottles of ginger-beer, I gave a 
toast, " The * Queen,' may we ever be loyal in our hearts, 
for though above her subjects and her laws, we are still 
under her protection and guidance." 

The toast was drunk with the customary honours. 

In the perspective now gazed upon and much enjoyed, it 
was more difficult for my companions to identify the places 
immediately beneath us, than those several miles distant. 

The Cheshire, Derbyshire, Denbighshire, and Flintshire 
hills appeared to be diminished in size, and a mountain on 
our extreme left, which seemed to overhang the Irish 
Channel was readily seen to be Snowdon — the monarch 
of Wales. 

A more glorious sunset I never witnessed ; the sky was 
flecked with golden and purple bars, which intermingling 

" came blushing o'er the sea," 

and catching the tops of the silent mountains, were 
reflected in the clear sky, to be again mirrored in the Dee 
and Mersey. Far out beyond Liverpool, the same glowing 
light glistened upon the sails of vessels which would other- 
wise have been invisible, making them seem as though 
they were so many beams of sunshine standing like arrows 
in the water. 

Suddenly the sun became obscured, the gas in the 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 4S 

balloon was condensed, we were then close npon Helsby 
Hilly and ballast was cast ont, that we might see what 
land lay beyond. 

Looking to the right, we saw Beeston Castle, rising 
like a hmnp out of the beautifol '' Yale Boyal." 

In front the forest of Delamere was seen in the deepening 
twilight. The canal looked like a silver eel as it wound 
its way through the fields and amongst the trees. 

With regret I lowered the grapnel to aid us in 
the descent, which was made in a field belonging to 
Mr. William Nixon of Alvanley. 

The bewildered but delighted country people assisted 
in packing up, and one man remarked, ** Oive never seen 
sich a string of fokes sin there was bull baiting at 
Acton." 

Although I had sold my war balloon to Mr. Coppin for 
Australian service, I still clung to my earliest idea of 
signals for military objects. 

It so happened, however, that this Chester ascent, led 
Die into a train of thought which afterwards ended in a 
discussion about vertical and long range sight-seeing as 
applicable to warfare. 

At this time (1858) the English Government and 
British oflScers generally regarded the balloon-and-signal 
theory as wild, preposterous, and impracticable ; it might 
do very well as an exhibition, but the idea of parading 
such things among the ranks of an English army ! — and 
yet it has been paraded, if I may emphasize that word, by 
the course of subsequent events : however, I do not 
propose to record an individual opinion about the latest 



44 BTY LIFE AND 



r 

^M experimenta in the army, but merely to jot down the 
^^L conversation of three persons as they discussed the matter 
^H thirty years ago. 

^H DIBCUBSION ABOUT WAB BAIXOONB. 

^^m Mr. A. — I heard this laorning from one of yonr com- 
^H panions of yesterday, that when you looked over Helaby 
^F Hill to note what was on the other side, you said, " What 
a sight for a general or an engineer officer." 

Mr. B. — That was to see what was out of sight, I'll be 
bound. 

Mr. C. — Rather to know what could not be ascertained 
without the help of a balloon, the value of which I was 
thinking about at the moment of my exclamation — of course 
I mean in a military point of view, and what advantages 
might accrue if my proposals should be adopted. 

Mr. A. — What have yoa snggested? 

Mr. C— To employ balloons in the English army for 
reconnoitering, signalling, and, under proper supervision, 
for destructive purposes. 

Mr. B.~My word ! that last is a peppery notion, bat, 
excuse me, might you not have to take something hot 
yourself, a few ounces of lead for instance ? 

Mr. C. — My plan for dropping sheila could be managed 
without anyone being in the balloon. A bird's-eye view 
could be obtained, for all practical purposes, a mile or 
two from the front ; had you been up with us yesterday, 
you would have been astonished how far we could see 
vrith the naked eye. Of course, good glasses would assist 
to bring the enemy closer. 

Mr. B. — Personally, I should prefer keeping at a 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 45 

respectful distance ; and then, how about the long range 
and these new rifles; only fancy bullets as thick as duck 
shot flying about. 

Mr. A. — That danger has been disposed of, Mr, B. 
The way to avoid that would be 

Mr. B. — ^By judicious retirement, I should say. 

Mr. C. — The preservation of the balloon would be of 
primary consideration. 

Mr. B. — ^And the preservation of those in the watch 
tower only secondary, I suppose ? 

Mr. A. — Eeally Mr. B. you are too incisive by half. 

Mr. C. — ^Not at all ; the way your friend puts it affords 
scope for explanation. As to risk, one can never be so 
free from it in warfare as Mr. B. for instance, might 
desire, and as military science progresses, dangers will not 
probably diminish. 

Mr, B. — Don't mention them, it is bad enough to be 
shot on the solid earth, but to be brought down like a bird 
after doing double duty ! 

Mr, A. — ^What do you mean ? 

Mr, B. — ^Mean ! why by acting as a soldier and a sailor 
as well, by being on duty below and up in a balloon besides. 
I should expect double pay for that game. 

Mr. A. — But the aeronaut does not consider that it 
would be desirable for officers or their men to go up. 

Mr. C. — If it comes to anything, I feel sure that there 
will be no lack of aspirants in that way. 

Mr. B. — My idea is, that many will funk it. Why, 
balloon-men must be born such, like poets, and cannot be 

« 

made to order. 



46 MY LIFE AHD 

Mr. A, — How (to yon know, Mr, B. ? 

Mr. B. — Well, I offer an opinion that's all, if I am 
wrong Mr. C. will soon put me right. 

Mr. C. — You infer, I presume, that to make competeat 
ballooniBts, time and proper inBtmction are requisite, 
especially as regards experts. 

Mr. B.- — I mean, dear Sir, that eyen these combined 
will not always turn out an able pupil in your line, uulesa 
a man has hia bead, bo to speak, screwed on specinlly for 
ballooning, which, to my way of thinking, is work for 
which very few are fit. 

Mr. A. — Do, my good fellow, keep your private opiniona 
to yourself ; you are Boaring a bit up Mr. B. ; why don' 
you come to the point and ask a question which 
me the most vital of any yet propounded ? 

Mr. 6'.— What, pray, is that? 

Mr. B. — Ha ! there yoa are ; and where are 
friend A. ? 

Mr. A. — Well, I'm not off the ground, but should be 
glad to know how a balloon can be sent np without gas. 

Mr. C. — It can thongh. The first balloon was raised by- 
heated or expanded air. The second kind of balloon by 
hydrogen gas, which is much lighter than coal gas. 

Mr. B.—Ani costs more, besides probably being difficolfr 
to obtain when wanted. 

Mr. A. — You speak like a practical man now, Mr. B, 

Mr. C. — I endorse that compliment, and beg to aH- 
that rarified air balloons can be sent up anywhere under 
favourable atmospheric conditions. 

The French used balloons, as you know, during the 



■oa 



BALLOON EXPEBIENOES. 47 

Eevolutionary War, and they were filled with hydrogen. 
I hold that it is possible to convey any gas in india-rubber 
tags of an elongated form, and the day may arrive when it 
can be moved about in a much smaller compass, just as a 
chamber of an air-gun contains air that has been pumped 
into a small space. But we know enough already to start 
with, and the English have a precedent to go by, viz., 
actual performance by the French ; at any rate, it is what 
I have for some years pressed upon the attention of the 
authorities, but whether we shall ever adopt it at home or 
abroad I cannot say ; but if the French or other nations 
revive the experiment, we are bound to follow. 

Mr, B. — ^Yes, and more the shame that we do not lead ; 
there is plenty of originality in this country, if you can 
catch the eye and get the ear of those who govern us. 

Mr, A. — But, my dear Mr. B., what is the use, if they 
shut the one and close up the other ? 

Mr. C. — We must not be altogether discouraged ; time 
works wonders. 

BALLOONS AT THE CRYSTAL PALACE. 

First ascent in the year 1869. 

My balloon " Queen " having made her mark in the 
Provinces after the approving eyes of Royalty had looked 
^pon her, was now sought after to assist in inaugurating 
hallooning at the Palace Grounds. 

I had been asked for some time to do what I could in 
^his way, and to make inquiry as to the facilities for an 
Nation ; fortunately a friend of mine, Mr. Magnus Ohren, 
Secretary of the Gas Works at Sydenham, took a lively 
^terest in the proposal, and was well qualified in this i 



MY LIFE AND 



^ 



respect, as be had officiated, and Bimplified matters 
Hambui'g, when I took up Prince Panl Eaterhazy. I 
assistance materially simplified this fresh attempt, in vta 
there were cei'taiu difficulties to surmount, and ai 
unavoidable espensea to be incurred on the pari of 1 
General Manager of the Crystal Palace ; it was just he 
as may be supposed, where the Directors hung fire. 

Meanwhile, the refresliment caterer, who was about 
have a benefit, thought he would try an ascent with 
smaller balloon, borrowed from Ciemorne Gardens. 

Mr. Lythgoe, the aeronaut, was sent to try what coi 
be done by using such pipes of small dimensions as w 
already laid down, and he succeeded in making an asoo 
so that Mr. Strange opened the way for the introduction 
larger balloons, and when once a trial ascent had come 
with flying colours, the late enterprising Mr. Boley i 
not slow to profit by it. 

My first ascent in the yeai- 1859 passed off withoD 
biteh, and this was soon followed by others, which I 1l 
no desiie to refer to in this book, unless I find somethi 
extraordinary in the features of them, and such as will t 
a fresh link to the chain of novel incidents for those n 
deUght in adventure, and for those who desire to obse 
the practical results to be ascertained from a few of : 
various experiences. 

THE BALLOON " QUEEN " IN A BTOEM. 

This occurred during that remarkable gale in which ' 
" Koyal Charter," steam vessel, was lost. 

It was a fine autumnal day when proceedings eo 
menced and the weather forecasts did not publish f 



BALLOON EXPEBIENOES. 49 

cause for alarm during the preceding evening or early 
morning. 

The barometer was falling somewhat, and, most probably, 
like many a mariner, misled by outward appearances and a 
tranqail atmosphere, I had not watched it so attentively 
as I should have done. 

I have so often started in a boisterous wind that, as I 
thought, there was nothing whatever to prevent the filling 
of the balloon, indeed the auspicious outset, so far as 
regards the inflation on such a remarkably still morning, 
was a source of comment among those engaged in the work. 

I was induced, owing to the promising and calm state 
of the atmosphere, to go in to luncheon, but my old friend 
Mr. Ohren, agreed to remain and keep an eye on the men 
and the balloon during my absence. 

I had not finished taking refreshment, when I espied 
one of the gardeners anxiously seeking me, and learnt, 
most certainly to my surprise, that a brisk wind hau 
suddenly sprung up, and that I was wanted at once, as the 
balloon had torn away the hose from the gas pipe, and was 
dragging the men and the bags among the shrubs and 
trees where they were unable to control its movements. 

Fortunately I arrived just in time to rescue it from- 
iffipending destruction. 

While in this dilemma an oiBBcial, guessing at what my 
tactics would be, cried out, " Pull away all of you, we will 
soon drag her back." 

''Halt," I cried, "do nothing of the sort, if we go on 
that way as she now is, in less than a minute she will bo 
torn, and soon flat on the grass." 

4 



60 MY LIFE AHD 

The first step of the right kind was to take in a couple 
of reefs, as the sailors say, as there was a large surface of 
spare loose cloth acting like a sail, and it was, in reality, 
this which the wind had acted upon, more than the inflated 
bulk of the balloon, which I left snug ; but the men had 
been too liberal in slacking out the netting, and the eiTOr 
had to be remedied by undoing the mischief, mesh by 
mesh. This conld not be done in a minute, but wheo^ 
once accomplished, after going round and round taking in. 
two meshes at a time, the balloon was much steadier, and 
we managed then, by an oblique course, to get her under 
a row of trees which appeared to offer shelter, but here the 
shifting wind found ua out, so that I decided upon con- 
tinuing the inflation, in order to be ready to start at the 
appointed time. 

But the last and most vialent set of the wind revealed a 
new and apparently insurmountable obstacle in the North 
Tower, straight for which we were likely to go, unless the 
most difficult and dangerous step was taken of pulling the 
balloon lower down the Ai-chery Ground, right in the 
teeth of the wind ; but eventually this plan was adopted 
as a desperate necessity, when Mr. Chandler, who had 
paid before-hand for a seat, now refused to take back his 
money. I strongly advised him to go another time, bat 
he was not to be disappointed, as he said, in that way — if 
I could go, he could. 

"AVell, if that's your argument, jump in, but I would 
rather go alone." 

There being no time to lose, I pulled the catch, after 
giving a considerable amount of ascending power. 



BALLOON EXPEBIENOES. 51 

We passed over Sir Joseph Paxton's residence, steering 
frightMy close to the Tower balcony, when we made a 
vertical spurt in obedience to another outfall of sand. 

We knew by a ringing cheer of congratulation how that 
crijsds had stirred the spectators in their inmost feelings. 

The car was apparently trailing behind the balloon with 
a pendulum swing, which is not often the case. In less 
than two minutes we entered the lower clouds, passing 
through them quickly, and noticing that their tops, which 
are usually of white, rounded conformation, were torn into 
shreds and crests of vapour. 

Above these was a second wild-looking stratum of 
another order. 

We could hear, as we hastened on, the hum of the west 
end of London, but we were bowling along, having little 
time to look about us, as the grapnel had to be adjusted 
so as to suit the occasion ; some extra sandbags were 
turned to a good account by making a bed of them at the 
bottom ends of the car which we occupied, in expectation 
of a rough landing. 

As it came on to rain hard, we were agreed that the 
sooner we descended the better it might be for us. 

On breaking through the clouds we noticed how fast the 
fields appeared to be rushing past, which meant how 
quickly we were scudding over them. 

Practically it is of importance to grasp this illusion and 

to spot the place where it is desirable to stop, although in 

strong winds an aeronaut may be much deceived in his 

calculations in this respect. 

While making for a large meadow, with several trees in it, 



t 

i 



52 MY LIFE AND 

of which it might have been possible for our grapnel to 
obtain a hold, we found ourselves too high by a hundred feet 
for a grip, but, owing to the speed at which we travelled, it 
would not do to be over nice or to be hesitating and 
fastidious in a selection ; we were traversing the open 
country with only a few scattered homesteads round about, 
and there being one of the latter near, it seemed as if we 
should take a good bank and hedgerow at a sufficient 
distance from the farm to be safe; anyhow, we could 
not avoid trying conclusions with so good an anchoring 
ground. 

Fortunately, on the first contact the grapnel did its 
work well, as I inferred by the shock which brought us up 
suddenly while going ahead at the rate of over sixty miles 
an hour. 

"Hold fast, and stick to the car at all hazards," I cried, 
*' and keep your eye on that barn, especially if we should 
break away when more gas is let off." 

" What then ? " asked my spirited companion. 

I did not reply, but thought that some of our bones 
might have been severely tested, as we were at this time 
suspended like a kite ; it was not so much the quantity of 
gas that kept us up, as the hollow surface of loose silk, 
which acted like a falling kite, and the obvious game of 
skill consisted in not letting out too much gas to make the 
balloon pitch heavily with a thud that would have been 
awfully unpleasant, but to jockey our final touch in a 
gradual manner, and yet to do it as quickly as possible, 
for fear of the machine getting adrift ; since under the 
peculiar circumstances in which we were placed, it would 



I. 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES* 68 

have inevitably fallen with a crushing blow which might 

liave proved fatal, like poor Simmons* descent. 

I never remember to have been in a situation when 
more coolness and nicety were required to overcome the 
peril which here beset us, while on that day the strong 
wind was, strange as it may sound, helping us to alight 
easily— that is, as long as the grapnel held firmly, and 
the balloon did not turn over like an unsteady kite. 

To me it was a time of intense anxiety, while Mr. 
Chandler, though well down in the car, was smiling at 
not having had the least taste, as yet, of that rough work 
for which I had prepared him. When we gently touched 
the grass, and I threw open the valve to its full extent, we 
were tolerably safe, as there was not so very much gas 
at this time to let off, and we had been for some time 
suspended by wind ; so we had a descent, as it happily 
proved, of less violence than I have frequently encountered, 
on a day when merely a fresh breeze was blowing. 

Being wet through, we took shelter in a roadside inn, 
where I resolved to stay for the night. 

My friend said he would rather go home just as he was, 
his wife not being aware of the kind of vehicle in which 
he had braved the storm. I advised him to telegraph 
and stay, but he went on, and took, as I heard, a very 
severe cold. 

The landlord of the inn ventured to give me a little 
homely advice, and urged me to partake of a stiff glass of 
hot brandy and water. 

I took the stimulant as well as his timely counsel, and 
then asked if he could oblige me with the loan of a suit 



I 
I 



I 



54 UY L.IFE AND 

of clothes, and if he would order a. fire to be lighted 
in a bedroom, as I seriously meditated drying my own 
clothes. 

I intended also, but did aot say so, to air the bed clothes, 
and when all this fussy indulgence of the phrenological 
bump of caution had been duly gratified, I went to bed, 
and was no worse for my aerial trip in a storm. 

THE TIE8T GALA AT YOEK. 

Before taiing part in> the Midland Counties Anniversary 
at Derby, I went in June, 1859, to the ancient City of 
York, where a gala on a large and unprecedented scale of 
grandeur was to take place, including flower and fruit shows, 
besides band contests, fireworks, and a balloon ascent; 
the whole was under the patronage of H,E.H. the Prince 
of Wales, the Lord Mayor of York, and moat of the 
influential families in Yorkshire, 

It had been anticipated that these united attractions 
would draw together such a mass of people as had not been 
previously witnessed in the counti-y, and the committee of 
management were not tlisappoiuted. 

The day was beautilully fine, but a strong north-west 
wind was blowing, an accompaniment which appeared to 
amuse the spectators, who watched the flapping of the 
tents and the buffetting of my balloon ; but however lively 
such manifestations were to the excited crowd, to me they 
were a source of anxiety, as there was a row of lime trees 
rather near the place of filling, and I should have to go 
over them with a bound, or an intimate acquaintance might 
be scraped hastily which might not end in iriendship. 

There were many good points I did not fail to notice in 



BALLOON EXPEBIENCES. 55 

the arrangements of this gala which stood out in reUef 
and contrast with others I had to do with in the Northern 
Counties. They had a smart field manager, who was 
obliging' to me, so that there was hardly a want which was 
not gratified, and as to men for holding on, they were 
liberally provided in every sense of the word, judging as 
I did by appearances, which included the colour and 
expression of their faces, together with their gait and 
handling of the sand bags, which became less steady as 
the day wore on. This proved annoying, as it was just 
about the time that I depended upon assistance in checking 
the rolling of the balloon, which in all truth is sufl&ciently 
sweeping on a breezy day, without additional rolling 
motion on the part of the workmen through sheer 
inability to keep straight. 

All the responsible oflBcials, however, were most attentive, 
and there was one who ingratiated himself by his affable 
manners and thoughtful conduct, which was appreciated 
by me, if not by the unstable men whom I was unable 
myself to keep in order. Mr. Tom Smith, a well-known 
townsman, and quite a character in his way, appeared to 
exercise a wonderful power over them, which he exerted 
when once I had signified what it was I required. 

Mr. Smith, by some kind of magic influence, which at 
that time I did not understand, brought them to their 
senses ; the " Queen " at last was allowed to attain the 
height of her fair proportions, and seemed to bow grace- 
fully her acknowledgments as she swept round over the 
heads of the people, causing them to stand aloof after 
many had lost their hats. Very amusing was this unex- 



r ' 

^1 pected act of apparent familiarity on the part of her 
^f Aerial Majesty. 

"Look out, she'll Imoek you down next torn," cried one 
of the men, who had already annoyed me exceedingly, and 
was giving orders to hia fellow workmen ; "let go all of 
yon," he suddenly exclaimed. 

Mr. Smith was now doing all he could for the best, and 
admonished this stupid, half- crazy Yorkahireman. At 
last I got in the car without thinking about or arranging 
for passengers, in fact, as it was my first ascent from York, 
and a windy day withal, I did not care about taking any, 
tnt Mr. Smith informed me that a friend of his would 
like to go, and as to himself, he would esteem it a great 
honour to be allowed to accompany me. 

"Yon are better where you are," I said, 

"That may be so," replied Mr. Smith, "but will yoa 
permit me to get in the car and assist you with the bags, 
I will get out if it is absolutely necessary." 

Mr. Smith and his friend thus joined me, bnt we had 
great difficulty in getting that proper rising power which 
B so essential for a safe start. 

That thick headed and njisehievons workman, jnat as 
I ordered them to let up for the final test, facetiously 
exclaimed, "let go," which some of them did, and I 
was so annoyed that I let go myself, not the trigger, 
hut my left fist straight for the nose of this dangerous 



" Serre him right," exclaimed many voices, when the 
police dragged him oat of the circle. 

Mr. Tom Smith was so amused with this hasty lesson 



BALLOON EXFEBIENOES. 57 

in aeronautic discipline, that he indulged freely in 
laughter, saying, " you not only sent the man flying, hut 
you knocked one of his front teeth down his throat; " " and 
serve him perfectly right," echoed several hystanders. 

We then made another attempt to start, but what with 
the strong gusts and the stupidity of those who held the 
last connecting rope, a general roll over occurred. The 
moment a fresh chance presented itself I let her go, but 
as Boreas would have it, we were caught like a slow rising 
bird at a pigeon match, that is, we received a full charge 
just as we were taking wing. 

Our car was quickly relieved of ballast to avoid a 
refreshment tent, but this did not clear her from the trees 
fortunately only the lower part of the balloon, with us in 
a crouched down position, sustained a very sharp contact, 
a pathway was cut through, and we then mounted rapidly, 
when Mr. Smith gave a lively cheer, which was answered 
by the spectators. I then sprang into the hoop and looked 
inside the balloon and saw that nothing was amiss. 

Mr. Hudson was then asked to join us in replying to 
fresh shouts of encouragement, but it is not in every 
mortal after such an exciting start to feel thoroughly 
collected. 

The view of York, as we crossed the Minster, was 
admirably calculated to revive the more undemonstrative 
voyager. 

"Look up Mun," cried Mr. Tom Smith, as he scanned 
the beautiful City of York. 

" I am looking down, Tom," replied the quiet one, 
" there is most to see below." 



58 MY LIFE AND 

Mr, Hndson Iiitd not lost his wits, and pointed to Beveral 
places familiar to both of them, as evidence that he knew 
very well where ho was at that moment, though he con- 
fessed to a strange bewilderment during our passage 
through the tree tops, fancying, as in a momsiitary 
dream, that we were thi-ee wood-euttera hocldcg away for 
dear life. 

The atmosphere being particularly clear, numberlesa 
objects of interest around us were visible to perfection. 
We could see the Eiver Humber, and had a glimpse of the 
German Ocean ; but, as our rate of travelling was extremely 
fast, we did not remain up very long, for there was almost 
sure to be a lively descent. 

Mr. Tom Smith, with much good humour, insisted that 
the descent was aa extremely well managed affair; ha 
shrewdly remarked that it waa not the going up he thought 
so much about as the getting down, and when I asked him 
for a clearer explanation, he added, " I am surrounded 
with relations. My brother has gone for a trap to take ua 
back, and another for the " Queen " is being put to, and 
if my brother's horses are in as good fettle as they used to 
be, we shall lick the train, and report ourselves safe and 
sound before the last rocket has soared over the gala 
ground." 

FATAL PALL OP AN AERONACT, 

This disastrous event occurred, under very peculiar 
eirenm stances, at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. 

A Mr. Hall, who had narrowly watched my movements 
at Sheffield, resolved to engage in the aeronautic art 
himself, and to try hia hand at some of those athletic 



BALLOON EXPEBIENCES. 59 

• 

displays which had been introduced in London by 
foreigners, and are now being revived. 

He succeeded at first, but in descending near Sunder- 
land he was jerked out of his seat when the anchor took 
hold, and was so much injured in the spine that death 
ensaed soon afber the accident happened. 

The Newcastle people had been very sympathetic, and I 
was called npon to ascend, as a benefit for his widow was 
contemplated. 

This sad termination to a short career had a curious 
effect npon many of the inhabitants, who, in a somewhat 
old-fashioned style, had no sooner attended Mr. Hnirs 
obsequies, than they divided themselves into two parties 
who contended against each other with much bitterness 
and personal hostiUty, as if some religious dogma was in 
danger of being examined. 

The later indications of sympathy seemed to have been 
absorbed in the delights of mutual recrimimition. 

There was high discord when the announcement of 
another balloon ascent blew the fire among the slumbering 
embers, and this led to a fresh exhibition of animosity 
which could hardly be believed, unless by an observer on 
the spot. 

On the occasion of Mr. Hall's ascent, the clergy and 
dissenting ministers, magistrates and county gentlemen 
and ladies attended in large numbers, and one gentleman 
who had patronised the exhibition afterwards became a 
violent anti-balloonist, attributing the accident to dangers 
which it was not justifiable to incur. 

This party resolved to have no more of it in Newcastle, 



I 



60 MY LIFE AND 

and when it was announced that I was going up, a large 
amoiint of abusive fory was evinced by the anti-balloonista 
who were almost in a rabid condition. 

It was ably and eloijaently pointed out in the NewcaatU 
Chronicle that the risk of ballooning was not so much in 
the undertaking itself, but depended exelnsively upon the 
person undertaking that calling. 

In support of this view the names of Charles Green and 
of myself were mentioned, and an appropriate extract- 
from the Aerostatic Magazine, which I edited, was cited; 
this article bore upon the subject, and was penned man; 
months before the melancholy event happened. 

Despite all opposition my ascent took place, and the. 
editor of the Nmvcastle Chronicle himself ascended with 
me. It took place on September, 19th, 1859. 

A few extracts from Mr. Langley's impressions will be 
interesting, especially if I omit compUmentary allusionB 
to myself. 

" The siin had set to the world below, but its light still 
tinged the weatern slqf and threw tints of pink far to the 
east. 

" An excited crowd pressed around. ' Stand back,' said 
Mr. Coxwell ; and ' Stand back ' was echoed by a dozen 
persons, who think everybody ought to stand back but 
themselves ; and ' Stand back ' was again repeated in the 
roughest Northumbrian by the police in large whiskers 
and plain clotbes, and ' Stand back ' was at last enforced , 
by the officials in uniform, 

" The great body of gas had drawn tight every string of 
the netting in which the balloon was encased, and one by 



BALLOON EXPEBIENOES. 61 

one the bonds which held it to earth were loosened, one 
rope only remained, and at the crack of a sort of trigger 
this tie was severed. 

** In the same moment the balloon sailed into the air. 
We felt no motion, it seemed only as if the plain beneath 
us was falling away. There was no rush of air, no jolt, 
no consciousness of motion. A sea of upturned faces and 
waving handkerchiefs was seen but for a second, and the 
cheers were almost lost in the distance before the utterance 
was finished. 

" There beneath, as if in some cloudy abyss, we could 
behold the sky reflected dimly from the Tyne, stretching 
fer away to the west, where we witnessed the sun setting 
for the second time. The pink tints on the clouds had 
become doubly bright, and in every direction a panoramic 
view of indescribable beauty met the eye. 

" Among the mass of slate roofs, which was nearly all 
that could be seen of Newcastle, except its lines of streets, 
the kntern of St. Nicholas and the monument to Earl 
Grey, the high-level bridge and the tallest objects seen 
from below were just visible, but looked singularly in- 
significant. 

^'All the lower parts of the town were enveloped in 
smoke, which seemed to grow more and more filthy and 
impenetrable as we attained a greater elevation. 

" Meanwhile the panorama of the earth below seemed 

to be wound away like a scene on rollers beneath us, and 

everything terrestrial to the eye grew * small by degrees 

and beautifully less.' 

" The crowds became indistinguishable patches of black ; 



I 



I 



62 HT LIFi: AND 

here and there wore seen at great distances the red spots 
of light which indicate iron blast furnaces, while all adown 
the valley of the Tyne the Bmoke of Hawks, Crawshay & 
Co., the Walker Iron Works, and other chimneys, flowed 
like a stream, growing wider and wider towards the sea 

" From above, it resembled a huge white horse's tail 
Bpread oat beneath. 

" Through this veil of vapour, to the east, could be dis- 
tinctly traced the locality of Tynemouth and North Shields, 
but above this stratum of smoke there was an uninterrupted 
view of country in every direction, such as could not havo 
been obtained under any other circumstances. 

" To the extreme north we could see Blyth ' sitting by 
the sea,' while more to the west Biagdon Park peeped 
forth, and nearer the bright roHeetion of the waters of 
Prestwick's Carr and of the lake at Gosforth were distinctly 
visible. 

" On the west the high gi'ounds of Biagdon and Winlaton 
seemed but a pistol shot, and peeping above the smoke of' 
the coke ovens and lirebriek works, the eye could clearly 
delect the summer-house ou the hill of Stella. 

" At the limi t of the view on the south-west was a 
richly wooded and cultivated country, which resembled the 
Berlin wool-work once so fashionable among the ladies; 
while through it the Derwent and Team ran like threads 
of the brightest silver. 

" To the south, Chester-le- Street, Lambton Park, and 
Houghton -le- Spring and the winding Wear were distinctly 
Tisihle in turn; beyond these there was a black mist, and 
' farther still the towers of Durham's ancient Cathedral. 



BALLOON EXPEBIEKCES. 63 

** To the east, the sea lay broad and blue, with specks 
here and there upon its surface^ and now and again a light 
like a tiny spark. 

" Above was spread a canopy of pure unspotted purple, 
deepening in its tone of blue towards the east ; while on 
the west, the rosy tints of the sunset mingled with it 
behind the cumulo-stratus clouds. 

"At about a mile ahead of us, as we approached the 
earth near West Boldon, the aeronaut pointed out a green 
field, on which, he said, it would be prudent to land, and 
in that identical spot the balloon subsequently rested. 
Nothing could better prove how thoroughly this gentleman 
understood his profession, and how absurd it is to judge of 
the dangers of aerial navigation from the experiments of 
ignorant and incautious persons. 

▼ v|c ^ 9|fr ^ ^|c jk 1^ 

"We returned to * Canny Newcassel' with delightful 
recollections of our aerial trip, and the good folks with 
whom it had brought us in contact." 



64 HT LIFE AKD 




CHAPTER IV. 

BALLOONS USED IN THE ITATJAN CAMPAIGN OF 1859. 

^HE Aerial Reconnaisance to which The Times referred 
and which I here subjoin, gladdened few hearts 
more than my own. 

I began to think that the time would soon arrive when 
balloons would be used in the British army, as a successful 
ascent during warfare had been made by a civilian French 
aeronaut, and, historically speaking, it takes higher rank 
than any made by military aeronauts up to the present 
year of grace 1888, as it actually led to important results, 
as will be gathered from the following remarks : — 

"Why is it,'' asked The Times, " that the Austrians, 
who can lose so valiantly, can seldom win ? 

" Because their knowledge is not of the present, but of 
the past. They are governed and directed by old hands 
and old routine. They have an enemy who does not care 
a centime for antiquity, and is not above taking the most 
irregular methods to win a victory. 

" The Emperor of the French, representing the juvenile 
irregular school, in the most ungentlemanlike manner 
refuses to be surprised. Having recourse to a newfangled 
expedient which no trustworthy veteran, who can count his 
seventy years, would condescend to use, he sends a man up 



BALLOON EXPEBIENCES. 65 

in a balloon ; and, at the expense of a few yards of silk 

and a few sqnare feet of gas, is told the exact position of 

all those masses, which are drawn up so scientifically ont 

of his sight with the intention of surprising him at the 

comfortable, leisurely hoar of 9 a.m. 

" The man of his time — ^the clever, active, shrewd, nothing- 
contemning adventm'er of the nineteenth century — ^by dint 
of this small contrivance, becomes master of the position. 
He knows what is going to happen, and where his enemy 
is, as well as their numbers ; and while the heavy, self- 
complacent Austrian is chuckling at the formal surprise 
that is to come off at 9 a.m., he commences operations at 
daybreak, chooses his own time and point of attack, and 
remains master of the field." 

The correspondent of the same journal, who accompanied 
the Austrian army, wrote : — " How was it that the French 
were ready at six o'clock to make a combined attack against 
the Austrians, who, on their part, had but just taken up 
positions on the previous evening ? 

*^An easy answer can be given to that question. No 
sooner was the first Austrian battalion out of Vallegio on 
the 23rd than a balloon was observed to rise in the air 
from the vicinity of Monzambano, a signal, no doubt, for 
the French in Castiglione. I have a full conviction that 
the Emperor of the French knew on the evening of the 
23rd the exact position of every Austrian corps ; that he 
made his preparations accordingly ; and that on the other 
hand, the Emperor of Austria was utterly unable to ascer- 
tain what was the number or distribution of the forces of 
the allies. 

5 



I 



66 MY LIFE AND 

" The above intelligence brings Mr. Cox-well into the field- 
again. 'We gather from recent news,' writes that snceesB- 
fijl acronaat, ' that M. Go<lard made an ascent to observe the 
Anstrians ; also, that forty women have been since engaged 
at Paris in making a new balloon for the French army. 
Ever since the Enssian war, and daring that event, 

have laboured hard in endeavouring to evoke the attention 
of oar Government, our scientific men, and the Press, to 
the importance of aerial observations and balloon signal- 
ling. Balloons may, I think, be used with long wire ropes 
attached (kite faehion) withont being let go, which might 
endanger their falling in an enemy's camp. Secondly — 
There is no real necessity that the balloon should be 
within close range of large or small shot. Thirdly — 
Hydrogen gas, by the decomposition of water, or by a 
novel process, would enable balloons to be inflated in what- 
ever locality desirable. Balloons may also be made the 
vehicles of laying a temporary electric wire or thread in 
any direction required. A revolving drum beneath the car 
might be made to contain many miles of thin wire, so as 
to pay it out as desired. In this way, a network of com- 
munication conld bo establiahed.' " 

Some time since a dispute arose as to who first suggested 
"Balloon Signalling." I think these extracts from the 
leading journal will set at rest any doubt on this point, and, 
combined with the plan and details of my War Balloon, 
vhich ascended in the year 1854, will prove conclusive. 

NOVEL AND THRILLING EXPEBIENCES. 

A compressed account of some rather new incidents in 
my life which happened during the years 1860 and 1861 



BALLOON EXFEBIENOES. 67 

^ now be given^ bat it becomes necessary, in order to 
complete my narrative in the present volnme, to be brief in 
referring to one or two eventful situations, which I do not 
shrink from placing before the reader, as I have no wish to 
dwell exclusively on the bright side of the picture. 

I have been hitherto true and faithful in describing 
the perilous as well as the safe and successful trips which 
I made in rapid succession &om the principal towns in 
England at the period to which I am drawing attention. 

Besides those frequent journeys which I was accustomed 
to make in the Provinces, I held my own for many years at 
the Crystal Palace, and witnessed one or two exciting 
scenes at the Great Glass House, which would supply 
matter for a book of much larger dimensions than my 
present unpretentious eiOfort. There is one occurrence 
which I must not leave unmentioned, as, though it forms 
a small part of my history, yet it may chance to divert a 
share of personal interest from the man to his balloons. 

My store-room at the Ciystal Palace was at that time a 
spacious portion of the north wing, and there my general 
equipment was kept with constant care, owing to the dry- 
ness, solidity, and supposed safety of that part of the 
structure. 

One day a fearful gale of wind brought down a large 
portion of the north wing, including the square house 
where my property happened to be. Of course the entire 
lot was buried in the ruins, but an official lost no time in 
apprising me of the misfortune, and some sympathy was 
expressed as to the total loss I had sustained, owing to 
the certain destruction of my balloons. 



On my arrival at Sydenham I gazed upon a worse 
looking wreck than I had expected to see ; the smashed 
glass, twisted girders, and splintered woodwork, left small 
hope in my own trouble-tossed brain as to the probable i 
condition of the traps that belonged to me ; nor did the] 
sight-seers, who had in their midst several officials and 
workmen, tender anything in the way of consolation. | 
The fate of my lot was a foregone conclusion, so that Hi 
thought it quite as well to assume an attitude of resigna- 1 
tion, though in reality I felt sore at heart; the crusheAl 
equipment was my sole stock-in -ti-ade wherewith to carry 1 
out numerous engagements, some of which I must needs I 
attend to, according to agreement, during the following! 
week, I 

It was during the dinner hoar, when I was left a sorrow- 
ing spectator of the scene of desolation, that I conceived 
the idea of making a voyage of exploration down among- 
the debris ; there was one opening which I entered, 
burrowing further and further, until I had to drop on aU 
fonrs and carry my hat to save it from collapse. 

Not being able to see the wicker cars, I was about toe 
give up the search, when a whiff of wind found its way 
among the disjointed piles of flooring and huge masses of- 
iron, and this brougbt with it that strong smell of gaa 
which I alluded to on a former occasion, and which again. 
showed that I was in the right ti'ack. 

Nothing daunted, I struck in as far as I could crawl, and. 
snifled about until the scent grew stronger, aud then 1. 
came upon the objects after a diligent search, but heard at 
the same moment a voice which I knew to be that of 



BALLOON EXPEBIENOES. 69 

lb. OordoD, the head gardener, asking in a plaintive tone, 
"Whatever are yon pottering abont down there for 
Mr. C?" 

A panse now ensned, while I made a snrvey of sufficient 
Mcoiacy to be able to know the worst, and to make a 
report. 

"Hold on Gordon," I cried, "lam working my way 
out, and will tell you all abont it." 

On emerging with my hat considerably the worse for 
wear and my clothes covered with dust, I heard the words 
"as flat as a pancake " 

" You're wrong there ; they happen to be nearly bolt 
upright, with a nice covering of rafters and cross planks, 
which mercifully spared my frail luggage, so that with 
extreme care we may be able to rescue the * Queen ' and 
'Mars ' from ignoble imprisonment, and now that I have 
niade this welcome discovery, do come and take luncheon 
with me, for I feel just as hungry as a hunter, and shall 
be glad of your company." 

The final recovery astonished everybody throughout the 
building, and none more so than the owner, who was, of 
course, most interested at the lucky escape. 

BEPOBTED DESTBUCTION OF MY BALLOONS BY FIBE. 

One of the many kinds of risk which machines of this 
description have to encounter, has just been described. 
Sometimes the trips through stormy skies are surpassed 
as regards danger to the thing itself, by voyages in steam- 
boats, and travels by rail, when they are liable to be 
smashed by accident in going to their next place of ascent 
or returning to headquarters. 



MT UFE AND 



r 

^H Then again, there are perils as to their being consumed ' 
^Bby what is called the devonring element. | 

^B I never had much dread of loeliig them in this way, j 
^B althongh I never, np to the year under consideration, I 
H^ attempted to insure them. Mine were too invariably out 
and about, up and down, to and fro, to be able to define I 
in what precise locality they could be protected or covered 

It may naturally be supposed that this fact would, at 
times, cause anxiety ; this was especially the case one 

P night when a lurid glare was seen to increase over 
the south-west part of London, which happened to be 
the quarter where I was bound on urgent business as 
early the next morning as I could possibly reach my 
destination. 

When I drew up my bedi-oom blind to its highest extent, 

so as to watch the distant smoke and flames as they shot 

I up and reddened a bank of clouds, which at sundown were 

^^ of a leaden aspect, I realized that a terrible fire was 

H raging. 

^1 However, I own to not having been concerned or curious 
^H enough to stay awake all night to watch its progress, 
^B wherever it might have broken out. In the morning I 
^ should hear all particulars, and after hoping that no lives 
might be lost, I dozed off, and thought no more of the 
matter. 

Feeling unusually buoyant next moi-niug, I trotted down 
to the railway station and exchanged the customaiy 
salutation with the good natured chief porter, and had 
well nigh forgotten to ask where the conflagration was, 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 71 

when the said porter, as if to pnt to shame my indifference, 



"Awfdl flare up that, last night, Sir." 

"Indeed it was. Have you heard particulars ? " 

"Don't you know, Sir, Camden Town Goods' Station 
bomt to the ground? Every mortal scrip and scrap 
consumed." 

'^ What ! " I almost screamed. 

"Why, you seem staggered, Mr. C. I should have 
thought nothing would have frightened you." 

"My good man," I said, "that is just where I am 
going ; both my balloons should be there, one from 
Worcester, the other from Birmingham." 

"Look out. Sir, mind the train — ^you had rather a 
close shave — don't lose your nerve ; I hope you'll find 
your balloons all safe. Good morning." 

I was no sooner in the train than a jolly vis-d-vis 
passenger said : " Like to see the morning paper, Sir ? " 

" Thank you," I curtly replied. 

"Bad fire that, last night. Sir." 

" An atrocious fire ! " 

** Nothing personal I hope." 

** My dear man," I pettishly replied, " we are both dis- 
torting the Queen's English by using strange terms. I 
say atrocious, you say personal. The long and short of it 
is, that I have lost, at least I fear so, two balloons." 

** Bad job that, but, excuse me, I get out at this next 
station." 

** Then I will say no more," but I did mutter in an 
undertone something to the following effect, viz, **that I 



I 



72 MY LIFE 4ND 

was glad to be left to my own thoughts," which had fallen 
(barometrically speaking) bo rapidly from "set fair" to 
*' stormy," 

On reaching Camden Town, the cabman bravely conveyed 
me close np to the harriers which kept back the crowd ; 
some distance inside of them, the flames and fumes were 
still to be seen and inhaled. 

" Keep back, Sir," cried one of a posse of policemen. 

I was pressing forward with all my might and main, 
when I canght sight of a face that I had seen before. 

He, the goods' porter, seemed to gness my errand. 
Addressing the inspector, he said, " This gen-man is on 
'tickler business." 

" Yes, and on ticklish business too," I said. "Can yon 
tell me anything about my balloons ? " 

" They were here last night, Sir," said the porter. 

" My dear man, I wish they had been a hundred miles 
away, yon mean they are burnt." 

" I can only speak gineraly Sir, there is nothing left of 



I 



■' Consequence, man, but my traps are of the greatest 



" Well Sir, if you don't mind stepping along with me into 
that licensed honse yonder, which is, as you perceive, 
within these here barrers or whatsondever they are calledj 
I will place you in 'munication with onr master porter." 

" Lead on then, I shall not be mean if I can hear any 



" Here Wilson, here's this ere gen'man about them hair J 
balloons." 



BALLOON EXPEBIENCE8. 73 

"Ha," cried Wilson, with an elongated visage, ''bad 

job Sir, is'nt it ? " 
''Mr. Wilson, that is not the question. Are my things 

einders, or are they safe ? " 
"I do trast that they are insured, Sir." 
" They were not insured, Mr. Wilson, but if you can 
sstisfy me by octdar demonstration that they are now in a 
proper position to be insured, I will give you a crown to 
start with." 

Mr. W. shook his head ominously, '^ The truth is," he 
added, " everything is burnt, that is, 'cepting that lot of 
stinking fish, that was shot down on the platform last 
night, and our station master was that riled, that he sung 
out ' Wilson,' says he, ' take away, and deposit as far off 
as possible, these baskets. ' " 

" Baskets, did you say Mr. Wilson ? " 

"Yes, gut big uns, full of the foulest smelling lot 
we've had here this season. But there, you seem to have 
more blood in your face now, come and have a look at em, 
the're just behind here.'* 

Well, to make a long story short, I followed, treading 
with excitement almost on Wilson's heels ; but there 
was no fish to be seen, and I began to think that 
my sensitive feelings were being trifled with, when 
Wilson drew aside a black tarpaulin, and said, '* maybe 
that's your lot." 

Then I seized the noble fellow by the hand, and the 
second in command as well, keeping good faith with them, 
and exceeding my pledge, for had they not restored to me 
two old and tried friends? Fortunate and right royal 



I 



MY LIFE AND 

les to me, they never, I thought, appeared in mof^ 
'elcome form, especially as I drew near and saluted her 
■ial majesty the "Queen" balloon. 

STORMY TIUP FROM C0NGIJ3TON- 

A first viait was made to this town ander what were 
'Bapposed by the inhabitants to be favonrable auspices. 

The weather was certainly bright and cloudless, but ' 
there blew, throughout the day, a very strong wind, bo 
that it was doubtful whether the good au--ship " Mars," 
which had so luckily come ont of the Ci^stal Palace and 
Camden Town disasters, would now bear the bnmt of a 
which came upon us with a direct force, unbroken 
by trees or buildings, and which, from the first moment 
of the infiatiou, found out our open and weak points. 
Efforts had been made to shot off the wind with large 
IS of canvas, but to little effect, as the saucy war- 
balloon flapped and tossed about, and the spot was too 
small for a public gathering, especially when the last 
rolling process, preparatory to starting, commenced. 

To add to my troubles there was an old man present, 
connected probably with influential parties in the town, 
who would have his say, and was constantly loud and 
noisy in proclaiming his opinions, first, that the day was 
of the "right sort," and, secondly, that "he could tell 
people, who was going up." 

Well, all this sort of thing would have been amusing, if 
anxiety bad not been increased by the rough wind, for one 
never knows in ballooning bow soon a slit may occur and 
pnt an end to all anticipations as to the ascent. 
i "I tell you," persisteutly cried the old gentleman. 



BALLOON EXPEBIENOES. 75 

^1 that three besides the master are going np> and a nice 
^1 isttling breeze they'll have too> and what more can the 

iailoon-man himself want — though he looks rather down 
ftboat it — ^I suppose one may get too much of a good 
tiuQg sometimes." 

"My good fellow," I said, "pray close your mouth. 
Wliat do you know about affairs of this kind, or how can 
yon, of all men here assembled, be aware whether I intend 
to ascend alone, or take anybody with me ? " 

"That be blowed! If the three I mean don't go, there'll 
be a jolly row I can tell thee." 

"Who are they, pray?" 

** Well, as to that, Mister, here comes the Secretary, 
you'd best see to it." 

" Have you," I asked, " any applications as to 
passengers? I hope not, as I would rather go alone a 
day like this." 

** Ha ! would you indeed, then I have done amiss in 
not mentioning before that three of the Pearsons of 
Lawton Hall, are booked." 

" I regret that, as your gas in Congleton is heavy; and 
then you see how it blows." 

" Oh, never mind that, they want to see something." 

"Yes, but not to feel something — I mean a rough 
landing." 

" They are quite ready for anything of that sort, and I 
would not have them disappointed on any account." 

** One will have to be disappointed for certain, I can 
only take two besides myself, and if you had not exercised 
pressure as to these young gentlemen going, I should have 



r 



MY LIFE AND 



declined all companionBhip and fees to-day; in fact, I 
woTild rather have plenfj of sand. I have bo often fonnd 
ballast to be of mnch greater valae than caeh, that I do 
not always consider it for the best to take passengers in 
boisterous weather." 

»" Yon will not, Mr. C. find it so easy to shake ofi" these 
&iring youEg fellows." 
This estimate of their undoubted pluck was found to be 
correct ; in fact, while I was on one side of the balloon, 
they jumped in on the other, when I was not looking; 
hut they were pohtely asked to get out, and in the end only 
two were allowed to re-seat themselves. A rapid ascent was 
then made, the nearest buildings being cleared at a bound. 
As it ia not customary either with the captain of a ship 
■'Or the master of a balloon to allude much to danger, I 
I was discrotitly reticent on that point, and engaged their 
I attention with the fine views which surrounded us on all 
I Bides, but we moved so fast that on asking whether they 
I knew the country on the other side of a range of hills we 
[ "Were approaching, they said, " Oh yes, very well, those are 
I the Buxton Hills, we go rabbit shooting in that direction." 
"Do you? Then I may take it that you are well 
I acquainted with this neighbourhood ? " 

" We know every inch of the ground," was the reply. 
"Altogether then," I continued, "we may look upon 
I'&e valley beyond as a good place for landing," 
' Decidedly so." 

' Then I must ask the iavoor of your unshipping those 
^ts, and of placing them just where I show you ; and on 
i^ing the earth, gentlemen, we must keep well down in 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 77 

the basket, and yoa must bold on by these cross lines, and 
do not think of jumping out until I tell yon. The wind is 
80 strong that if the grapnel does not find a good hedge, 
bank, or tree to bring us up by, we may have some rough 
work, BO do not feel unprepared." 

"All right, never fear us, Mr. Coxwell." 

"I perceive," said the elder Pearson, "that you are 
letting off gas, we are not going down, surely." 

" Yes, I want to just clear that bill you see on the left, 
but I fear we draw away rather south of it ; how straight 
your hedgerows appear." 

" Ob, they are not hedgerows but stone walls," replied 
the younger brother. 

" Dear, dear, I am sorry for that, however, we must 
take them nowi unless we catch beforehand. Look out, 
I shall soon slip the grapnel ; there, we get the first jerk, 
bold fast, the wind is stronger than I thought, and we are 
going down hill — by jingo, there are rocks and a fearful 
goi'ge ahead." 

■' We dare not get among them, Mr. Coxwell, I ought 
to have told you." 

"Too late now, look out, we must ti? the holding power 
of those stone walls." 

" They go down one after another." 

" I see they do, but hold fast ! the ear will pass tbi'ough 
the next." 

II did, and through one or two more, but the last one 
slit up the balloon from bottom to top. Of course we 
stopped, and the rest I mast permit a Buxton newspaper 
to relate. 



r 
I 



78 MY LIFE AND 



THE ISJUItED AEaOKAUTB AT BtTXTON. 

Mr. Coswell, and the MeesrB. PearHon, jnn., of 
Lawton Hall, near Congleton, are now progressiBg, we ore 
happy to say, towards complete recovery. It will be 
remembered that on August ISth a descent took place 
daring a violent wind, on the etone-walled and rocky 
locality near Brierlow toll-gate, about two-and-a-half milea 
from Baxton. 

"A valley favonrable for alighting had been nUHsed, 
owing to the force of the wind, and the car not being 
over-Btocked with ballast, the voyagers fonnd themselveB 
skimming over the ' back-bone of England,' the wild 
ragged surface of which is in every way objectionable for 
a balloon. 

"Mr. Coxwell, seeing no possible mode of evading a 
rough landing, prepared for the worst, and placed hia 
passengers in the safest possible position, viz, at the 
bottom of either side of the basket, where hand-ropes are 
placed, by which to hold on in emergencies like this. 

"As the grapnel (a large powerful instrument, forty- 
two pounds weight) trailed along the gi-ound, it glided 
over the soil and tore down stone walla, as if there was 
holding ground or material for it to take effect in- The 
consequence was that the car was brought down in contact 
with the walls, and the only remedy was to exhaust the 
gas aa quickly as possible, and lessen the number of 
concussions. It was here manifestly that the experienced 
aeronaut was equal to the occasion, as he peremptorily 
kept his companions well down in the basket, and told 
them that if they attempted to move or get out, they 



BALLOON BXPBBIENCES. 79 

wonld be killed on the spot. Fortunately^ the Messrs. 
Pearson are remarkably endowed with what is styled 
phcky and they stuck to the ship and obeyed Mr. Coxwell's 
<H:dars to the letter. 

" It was now the critical moment — two or three severe 
bnmps were inevitable, the wind blowing in angry gusts, 
and the car dashed through one wall of about eighteen 
inches in thickness, making a clear breach, and hurling 
the stones forward as if they had been pounded by the 
hrgest Armstrong missile at present in use. Mr. Coxwell 
was fall strain on the upper valve, which is thirty inches 
in diameter, but still the mass bore onwards, and a second 
dean breach was repeated in the next wall. 

"Away again with renewed vigour, and down for the 
third time, and once again through another wall, and now 
the cry was raised by astounded lookers-on, that two fields 
further lay the Deep Dale or gorge which would surely 
prove fatal. 

"Happily, the fourth wall having been dashed down, 
and a considerable quantity of gas lost — ^the balloon itself 
caught some of the stones and tore from bottom to top — 
several countrymen, especially the sons of the toll-bar 
keeper, now rushed to the rescue. 

" Mr. Coxwell and Messrs. T. and A. Pearson were at the 
bottom of the car, covered with stones. All three voyagers 
presented a sorry aspect, their faces were covered with 
blood ; but the aeronaut himself retained his senses and 
directed that they might be taken out of the basket and 
placed on the grass, and furnished vnth water. 
" This done, Mr. Coxwell enquired if there was any 



MY LIFE AND 



I 

I 



house neaxi and finding that the toll-bar was close at hand^ 
diiectiuua were given for them to be carried there. Mr. 
Coxweil then despatched a messenger for a conveyance to 
take them to the Royal Hotel, at Buxton, where they 
arrived in due time, and received the best medical attention 
that could be procured. 

" The injuries sustained were : Mr. T. Pearson, fracture 
of the skull; Mr- A. Pearson, injury to the head and 
broken fore-arm ; and Mr. Coxwell, bruised and cut from 
head to foot, with a bad contused wound on the right 
thigh. The injuries Mr. Coxwell had met with were not 
considered, at first, dangerous ; hut those sustained by 
the other gentlemen extremely so. Dr. Bennett of Buxton, 
in company with Dr. Bullock, an eminent practitioner of 
Congleton, took the cases in hund, and succeeded in 
saving the arm of Mr. A. Pearson, and in reducing the 
skull fracture of the brother ; Mr. Coxwell's case presented 
symptone which showed deeper injuries than were suspected 
to exist, the thigh was bruised and lacerated by 
immense stone, so that the medical gentlemen could 
scarcely comprehend how the bone escaped fracture 
erysipelas set in, and the case assumed dangorouB ap 
pearancea, but Dr. Bennett skilfully made a long deep 
incision which had the desiied effect, and the healing 
process is now rapidly progressing, and ml three sufferers 
are doing well and leave their beds. 

" This, we believe, is the first personal accident that haS' 
ever befallen Mr. Coxwell out of nearly 400 ascents, had it! 
occurred to a novice, some outciy might be raised as to the, 
perils of ballooning, but since this mishap we have had 



BALLOON EXPEBIENOES. 81 

two terrific railway smashes^ three or four dreadful fires, 
and an omnibus accident near Whaley Bridge ; all these 
eonsidered, we can only fairly and reasonably come to the 
conclusion that balloons are like ships^ coaches^ railway 
trains^ and other vehicles, liable to accident and subject to 
occasionable wreck." 

A SIMILAB PERILOUS DESCENT BY MB. GREEN. 

Mr, Hatton Turner, in his excellent work, "Astra 
Castra," gives an account of this occurrence, which, taken 
in conjunction with my own, will remove a wrong, but very 
common impression, that aeronauts of repute and long 
experience never have a failure nor an accident. 

It is all very well for third or fourth rate balloonists to 
declare themselves hard and fast in this boastful and 
extravagant kind of style, but it will not do for men whose 
careers are a matter of public property. 

On the occasion of a fete at Cremorne Gardens, Chelsea, 
in 1841, for the benefit of the Polish Eefugees, a gentle- 
man named Macdonnell, said to be a representative of the 
Times newspaper, ascended with Mr., C. Green, and 
subsequently gave the following description, which will be 
perused with interest. 

" It was about five minutes after seven when Mr. Green 
(with his liberator, as he calls it) finally let loose the last 
links that bound the balloon to the earth. We immediately 
ascended with a swift and steady motion till we attained 
the height of about 1500 feet, at which elevation we 
continued to move with considerable velocity, till we found 
ourselves over the Isle of Dogs, when, throwing out some 
ballast, we rose many hundred feet higher, and were borne 

6 



\ 



8S XT UPS A33> 

IB a aoBth-vestedy duection tosiida the centre 
eoQ&fyof Kent. 

" Hire, tit Mr. Green's derare, I Utrew oat occasiooallj 
eevenl pieces of paper, id OTder to asceTtain whether 
were risiiig or remaining at a statiOBarj height. 

" Soon afterwards, Mr. Green drew my attention to 
emoke of the many stesmers vhich were passing, and 
which was evidently blown towards the Connty of Essex. 
Accordingly be thoagbt we might descend in the salt 
marshes, where there were no woods or orchards to obstmct 
oar progress. Mr. Green made his preparations! let ont 
gas, and we passed over the Thames. He then cantioned 
me particnlarly to take fast hold of a rope, which he had 
&stened across the wicker car, and Inckily I obeyed hia 
instmctions to the letter, for presently we felt a slight 
check from the grappling- if on, let down &om the hoop to 
the distance of 140 feet towards the earth. 

" A moment after, there came a terrific shock ; we were 
going at the rate of sixty miles an hoor, and oar anchor 
canght in the side of a dyke, and, owing to the extrem»' 
speed at which we were traTelling, tore its way throogh the. 
hoop to which it was fastened, and, coming in contact with 
the car as it snapped, completely apset it, so that we 
were tamed topsy-tarvey, with our heads towards the 
ground, the rope which was passed across the car alone 
preventing our falling oat ; though so complete was the 
npset, that most of the contents of the car, sach as the 
ballast, &c., as well as my own hat, dropped to the earth. 

" In another moment the car righted, and the balloon, 
thns freed &om every check, descended, dashing as witB 



BALLOON EXPEBIENCIES. 88 

terrific force against the ground. Immediately afterwards 
it re-ascendedy and again brought us with a fearM 
collision to the earth. We were then carried along for 
half a mile until we reached a creek or small river, through 
which we hurried, half buried in its waters, to the opposite 
bank, over which we bounded like a tennis-ball, and, after 
a few moments, found ourselves dragged through some 
acres of marsh and oziers, towards a high mound ; but 
onwards, still onwards, the terrible demon held its way. 

''Ere long, we were stopped against a strong paling, 
but nothing could withstand our impetuosity, and we burst 
through the oaken timbers as if they were cobwebs. 

" Mr. Green is, I am a&aid, hurt internally." 

ANOTHEB ACCOUNT BY MB. GBEEN HIMSELF. 

*' Our descent took place at twenty minutes past seven 
p.m., in a large marsh in the parish of Bainham, in Essex, 
after crossing the Thames four times. 

** On no former occasion have I ever had to contend with 
80 violent a wind as raged now. Notwithstanding that the 
spot selected was very well adapted to effect a descent, 
being extensive, open, marsh land, I never experienced so 
rough a landing. The first time the grapnel took a firm 
hold, the shock was so violent, that the hoop to which it 
was attached, and which had been used by me, and my 
son, in no less than 313 voyages, broke, depriving us of 
the grapnel and cable, both of which had been left behind, 
firmly fixed in the object to which the grapnel had caught, 
a bank. We were then dragged a mile-and-a-half in the 
space of three minutes, by which time nearly the whole of 
the gas was expended, in consequence of our never 



84 UT LIFE AND 

abandoning the care of the vake-line. We received 
several eevere Bhoeks and eonensaions in passing over 
dykes, banks, and fences, and a strong paling, throngh 
which the car tore its way by the velocity of its motion. 

"This illustrates, in a new form, that fact in natural 
philosophy, that a comparatively soft body, like our 
flexible wicker-car, when in very rapid motion, will force 
its way through a hard substance without itself suffering 
material injury. We did, indeed, get some hard knocks, 
hut I understand that one of the reports in circulation is, 
that the injuries I have received are of such a nature that 
I must abandon the profession of an aeronaut. Permit 
me to say that I hope to disprove this report, by making 
an aerial voyage from the New World to the Old, taking 
advantage of the prevalence of the westerly winds, ag soon 
as I shall have constructed the kind of balloon which I 
know to be necessary for that purpose." 

I GET HOMEWARD ON CRUTCHES. 

After a. sojourn of six weeks at Buxton in the height 
of the season, but cut off from the customary enjoyments 
by being confined to my bed, I managed to get up and 
move about my hotel mth the aid of crutches. The 
Pearsons had gone back to Laivton Hall, and were doing 
fairly well, which made me long to follow their example, 
and get beneath my own roof, especially as chilly October' 
weather had set in, and I felt that under existing cirenm- 
stances there is no place like home. 

If I conld only get as far as Derby, and rest there 
for a day or too, I should be among friends, and 
Mr. John Allan, who accompanied me in the long voyage 



BALLOON EXPERCBNOES. 85 

to Tavistock, had been down to see me, while our mutual 
friend, Mr. Henry Youens, had made an ascent or two 
for me in the North, I thought it quite as well to ride 
by coach part of the way, and press on towards London 
by rail. The thought, however, of my returning to the 
domestic haven was somewhat galling, as it was the first 
personal injury I had sustained in this kind of life, and I 
scarcely knew how I should be received by my better half, 
who never liked ballooning and'had persuaded me to follow, 
as much as possible, my profession as a surgeon-dentist, 
so as to be in a position to relinquish the more flighty 
pursuit in case I got tired of it. 

But I was not tired of it, and how could I venture back 
and sail under false colours ? 

No matter, it was just possible, as Mr. Allan had 
observed, a few moments before we were put down from 
a cab, that no questions or allusions would be made, as 
to my future intentions. 

Nor were they for some time, and, at last, I began to 
wonder why the good wife was so pleased and amiable, 
as she had often vowed that if I was brought home with 
a broken leg or arm, she was'nt quite sure that I should 
be nursed as tenderly as if I had a natural illness; 
since it appeared to her, that so very much ballooning, 
in all kinds of places and weather, was like tempting 
Providence, and she had more than once made a resolute 
stand against the further indulgence of my fascinating 
pursuit. 

Why, then, was my better half so composed after the 
first cheering greeting had welcomed me back ? 



r 



I 



I 



86 MY LIFE AND 

It all came oat one momiiig after the local doctor bad 
been to attend to my wound, whicb bad not fully healed 
wben I left Buxton. 

I knew there was something in reserve, and bad 
commenced light fencing with a view to eliciting the 
truth, and this is what happened. 

" I have it, Henry, on the authority of more than one 
medical man, that you will never again go up in a balloon, 
and, I rcgi-et to add, that you will be permanently lame." 

"Shall I indeed! And what elae do they prophesy? 
That I shall never ascevd again, eh ? Well, we will talk 
that matter over nest spring. In the mean time, when 
I can lay aside these wooden legs, I must finish that 
small silk balloon I bought, which belonged to Green ; 
if we throw in a new top, it can be made as good as 
ever it was." 

" Mr. Coxwell ! How can you be so provoking." 

"Well," I replied, "my hands are nninjnred; work 
I mUBt, or I shall soon have the natural illness of which 
you Bpoke." 

"If, Mr. Coxwell, you will only look in your dental 
work room, you will there find aometbing awaiting your 
attention of a much more acceptable character than the 
reforming of a silk balloon." 

"I will not neglect bueiness, rest assured, but as to 
these deplorable predictions, do not believe in them, and 
recollect that no bones were broken ; as to flesh wounds, 
damaged tendons, and strained muscles, it is beyond the 
ken of all the doctors I have been in consultation with, 
to know what new formations, and what recuperative 



BALLOON EXPEBIENOES. 87 

efforts may be actually at work before this day six 
months, and to show the doctor how I disagree with his 
abominable prognostics^ I will throw aside my left hand 
eratch the next time he comes, and will pull myself 
together with an extra struggle, and if I can only show 
one of the faculty, how little they know, it will be doing 
a kind and useful act, against which even my own wife 
will not, I am sure, set her face." 

I had now the happiness of perceiving that I had here 
touched a chord, which vibrated to a greater extent than I 
had intended. 

The bare idea of my not being permanently lame ! How 
clever I should be to disprove that. 

Time, the great wonder worker, now began to work 
fjAVourable changes, even ere the Christmas of 1861 had 
passed, I began to show signs of being able to walk alone. 
The crutches were smashed, I was deprived of two sticks, 
and had to stand or fall, as best I could, without them. 

I was enabled to go about the garden, and to slyly pull 
about that confounded balloon I alluded to, and to secretly 
design a new crown to it. 

Friends and acquaintances, who knew very well in what 
respects my wife and I differed in tastes, would not in- 
frequently, for the sake of pacification and good intention, 
" hold with the hare and hunt with the hounds." 

Sometimes, when my hobby was being distantly referred 
to, I was detected in the act of winking and blinking, as 
much as to say, "I will though, if ever I get near a 
balloon." All of which was understood to mean, that 
what had been uttered about my never again going up» 



MY LIFE AND 



I 88 

W mast not be taken as meant literally, at least, so &r aa I 
wae concerned. 

One day a lady visitor called, and in the conrae of general 
conversation, exclaimed, " what an odd and remarkable 
conple you are. Your wife dislikes ballooning, and yet 
everybody can see how zealously she helps you, and, indeed, 
she is your right hand when you are constructing these 
balloons. I wonder that you never took her up." 

" She ascended once to save me from reproach," 

" Did she, indeed, I never heard of that before ; wherei 
pray, might that have taken place ? " 

" It was from Berlin during revolutionary times, when a 
large gathering was apprehended in the streets, as I was 
about to show how the city could be bombarded by a 
balloon, 

" At the eleventh hour this exhibition was prohibited, 
and an old fi'iend of mine, who at that time resided in the 
Prussian capital, suggested that, as the chief attraction 
could not take place, some counter novelty might be an- 
nounced, he proposed that Madame Coxwell's name noight 
be inserted in the evening paper, and though I declined to 
accede to this, stating that my wife would not go on any 
account, still the idea crept into the papers, and there was 
I, in a nice mess, not knowing how to break it to her, nor 
how I should stand with the public when a decided hoax 
transpired. 

" My Mend managed the matter very cleverly, however, 
80 that when my wife was on the grounds next day, he 
asked at an early hour, how it was that everybody was 
looking admiringly at Mrs. C, and that everyone was 



BALLOON EXPEBIENCES. 89 

expecting that she was going up. Then he had farther to 
explain himself^ and let the cat out of the bag by putting it 
ihnfl— 

'''If yon do not accompany your husband for once in 
your life, it will lead to a great disappointment, and you will 
compromise Goxwell's good name.' 

" That appeal did it ; my wife, as a matter of duty, 
ascended with two Prassian officers and myself, bnt she 
never aspired to go again, and I always studiously declined 
to ask her, being ever grateful for that one crowning act, 
in which she renounced self, and studied my reputation, at 
the risk of her own life.*' 



tUY LIFE AND ^^^^1 

CHAPTER V. ^^H 



I 
I 



EBNCONTEE WITH UY MEDICAL ATTENDANT. 

f TTT! steady but sura action of a long spell of reposs 
began to manifest itaelf, as the fine breezy days of 
March came round in the spring of 1862. 

I had not seen my attendant, Dr. Hall, for some time, 
bat dropped upon him nnespectedly one morning at the 
corner of Love Lane, Tottenham, jnst as he was coming 
oat of the house of a patient. 

" Hallo ! old friend, whither away? What, running too?" 

" Can't stop. Doctor, here's the omnibus coming, must 
be in town early." 

" Where are your sticks? Have a care for that poor leg." 

" All right. Hi ! Omnibus, stop ! " 

As I trotted forward, I could hear the Doctor exclaiming, 
" Bleas the man, what a change." 

And 80 there waa ; I was pretty well myself again, and 
as to the permanent lameness, it was all moonshine. Any- 
how I found myself in pretty active motion, and was going 
to meet a gentleman, who had telegraphed his errand aa 
" urgent," relative to Scientific Ballooning- 

This had a magic effect on a sensitive nature, and a 
perusal of the newspaper on my way up to London, ex- 
plained, to some extent, why I was wanted. 



BALLOON EXPEBIENGES. 91 

There had been a great meeting of the Committee of the 
British Association at Wolverhampton, and they had been 
experimenting with a Cremome balloon, in order to take 
Meteorological Observations at a great elevation ifpossihle, 
hi (he balloon, which was piloted by a practical aeronaut, 
viz. Mr. Thomas Lythgoe, did not attain the desired 
altitude, so that Mr. Creswick, of the Boyal Observatory, 
Greenwich, who was commissioned to observe the instru- 
ments, was doomed to disappointment, as was Mr. 
Lythgoe the balloonist; the machine was faulty from 
frequent usage, and now that it was being employed for 
objects of great interest^ refused to ascend very high, and 
came down not far from the place of starting, from ^' sheer 
inanition," as the newspapers described it. 

" So, so," I think I can guess what the nature of their 
proposition will be ; but how about my own balloons ? " 

This led to reflection, which produced a depressing effect, 
as I had not been able to get over to the Crystal Palace so 
often as I was in the habit of doing before my accident, 
and the largest of my balloons was not in a state for such 
service, as I guessed was now required. 

" Never mind," said Mr. Lythgoe, when he arrived and 
went into the recent attempt, ''you must go back with me 
and take your largest balloon ; you are so well known in 
Wolverhampton that the cry is all round for you * to put 
in an appearance^ We must have your balloon * Mars * 
and lose no time in getting it there." 

I did so, and arrived next day with bag and baggage, 
such as it was ; but I explained most frankly that before I 
could undertake to do anything I must be thoroughly 



MY UFE AND 

Biaformed of the objects and intentions of the Gommitt^^i 
KsB I could not consent to move in the matter uulesB I ie'^ 
I enre that I could carry out their wishes. 

A formal meeting was then held, the active and more 
^prominent members of which were Colonel Sykes, M.P., 
I Dr. Lee, and Mr. James Glaisher, F.R.R, 

When we came to figures and facte, I was atterly 
I aBtonished ; not that I was in any way proficient myself 
I in arithmetic and mathematics, but I could see at a 
r glance that these learned men had not entered npon 
their proposed explorations in the upper air, with anch 
calculations as the great pillars of science might have 
been expected to make in connection with researches of 
deep interest to the learned world. Of course, profound 
knowledge and ability to do so were all there, but, eingnlar 
to relate, the powei-s had cot been exercised, or these 
learned professors might have known by ten minutes 
figuring that the balloon, wliich was imperatively needed 
to carry out their ascents up to five miles high, must 
necessarily be of much greater dimensions than they bad 
expected. Indeed, after going into a few plain, practical 
prehminaries, which spoke volumes, as one of the savants 
confessed, it was found that they were wrong altogeflier, 
and that I could not, according to my own admission, 
benefit them very much with the balloon I had brought 
down. This required, as I clearly stated, mending, and 
was not large enough ; so I said that I would rather with- 
draw, if they relied upon my attaining the required 
elevation, as I could prove to them that we could not get 
I more than, if so much as, three miles high. 



BALLOON EXPEBIENOES. 93 

" Then what are we to do, Mr. Coxwell, do give us your 
ttndid advice." 

''Boild a brand new balloon, fitted by internal capacity 
and general construction for the requirements of the 
British Association." 

"We cannot, there are no funds for that purpose, the 
grant for trial ascents is all that we can touch." 

''If that is your position. Gentlemen, I will myself aid 
the cause in a way that may help you." 

" How is that, pray ? " 

"I will undertake, at my own cost, to construct the 
required balloon, and will be ready by Midsummer Day to 
make such an ascent that will Bring no discredit upon any 
one connected with the affair." 

" A very liberal and encouraging offer," was the reply, 
''and one that will place the aeronaut in a more command- 
ing position than he would otherwise have had among 
scientific men and the British public." 

This proposition having been readily accepted and 
indnstriously proclaimed by local newsmongers, I hastened 
hack to give orders for the materials wherewith to construct 
a very large balloon. 

But how was I to break this startling and unlooked-for 
intelligence at home ? How was I to comport myself and 
explain those fresh enterprises with which I had identified 
my name, and which might obtain publicity before I could 
tell my own little story with extenuating explanations ? 

I had every reason to suppose that an anxious wife 
would pronounce me a more incorrigible balloonatic than 
ever, nor was I quite certain that the family doctor would 



I 



I 



Vi MT LIFE AND 

not be colled in again to examine my head and nervoE 
system, as a rash and sadden act of this aort, characterised 
too by almost nnhettlthy- looking generosity with one' 
cash, wonld probably not commend itself to the clear am 
instantaneous perceptions of my wife. 

Luckily for me, before I told my own tale, there bad 
been a meeting at our house relative to an article in the 
morning newspapers, which gave an outline of what had 
been agreed upon at Wolverhampton. 

My wife was strongly advised not in any way to tlirow a 
wet blanket on what had been decided npon, or the resultfl 
to a person of my temperament might prove unfortunatfi. 

" Recollect," said an old friend, " that Coxwell has 
always aimed at turning ballooning to a useful account for 
military and meteorological purposes, if his ardour ia 
damped now that he has recovered from his misfortune, it 
will not do him much good, better far to humour big 
caprice, as he haH pledged himself to the British Assoins* 
tion, and if I gauge him aright, he will not go far wrong, 
nor bring any reproach upon his profession." 

When once the position was discussed with a fair amouul 
of common-sense and worldly wisdom, all difficulties an^ 
drawbacks vanished, a strong right arm was therefore 
forthcoming the moment I was ready for the stitching 
snch like work. 

All the available sempstresses of our neighbourhood 
were duly interviewed, tried old hands were taken on 
once, and the net maker, the basket maker, and the valve 
maker were invited down to take orders, the execution of j 
which would brook no delay. 



BALLOON BXPEBIENOES. 95 

Akrge schoolroom with a clear flooring was engaged 
iff pattern formings and the oiling of the fabric to be used 
vldeh was a kind of American cloth, made to order, and 
foitable for my requirements. 

There would be no time to build such a stupendous 

machine of choice silk, as the preparation and manufacture 

of 80 expensive a substance would occupy six months, to 

say nothing of an expenditure of at least dG2000 which 

would be necessary. 

I was pleased to hear, some time after the meeting at 
Wolyerhampton, that a determination had been arrived at 
that Mr. Glaisher himself was to go up. 

The fresh impetus given to the subject, and, I may add, 
the fresh halo shed around the gigantic new balloon, and 
the performances which it was expected to achieve, had a 
remarkable influence on Mr. Glaisher ; although that 
gentleman had never yet ascended, still he had become, 
possibly by hearing my experiences recounted, a decided 
optimist disciple, and he wrote to me stating that he 
intended to take the observations himself. 

This afforded me an additional motive for anticipating 
anecess. I knew very well Mr. Glaisher's position at the 
Bqyal Observatory, how zealous he had been in the ad- 
vancement of Meteorological Science, and what a firm and 
persevering mind he had, when once it was directed to the 
investigation of any subject he took up, and, although 
explorations in the air were quite new to him, as he did 
not at that time seem to know much about aerostation per 
*e, still he was anxious to gather all the information he 
could, and I found that it was no slight study that he 

■1 



MY LIFE AND 



BdeTOted to tlie subject loog before we were able to lann.-'^^ 
Pthe balloon ; lie came down occasionally to eee a V^ 
report pTogresa, and we bad tbe privilege one afternooxii 
of viaiting, in company witb Dr. Lee, of Hart we// 
my neighbour, Lake Howard, tbe father of 
aieteorology, whose original works and instrnctive obaer- 
vationB I possessed ; tbe siiientist, Luke Howard, was 
then a nonagenarian, but bis son, Hobert, also a 
scientific man, descanted on his father's remarkable 
weather- wisdom, while the veteran rested on a sofa, as 
one who was feebly listening to the life story of another, 
and not to bis own, if one conld judge by bis manner and 



I 



Besides tbe long school room, in which hundreds of 
yards of oiled cloth bang suspended, we had two or thi'ee 
temporary tents in our garden ; here a certain portion of 
the work was done under the watchful eye of my better 
half, who was invariably the fii-st astir, and always before 
sunrise, so that as the months of May and June came 
round, tbe smoke might be seen issuing fi-om our chimneys 
long before tbe earhest labourer went forth to bis daily 

LtoU. 

I One day, Dr. Hall came into the garden, looHng 

' approvingly at our soiled bands, and pronounced almost a 
benediction on tbe visible indications of labour. 

"That's tbe Jdnd of thing to cure most ailments," he 
cried, " you have no need to be ashamed. Nobody ever 
cut mocb of a figure in the world without hard work. 
But," he asked, "what is that nice odour arising under 

, the fruit trees ? " 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 97 

The fact is> that certain pieces of crockery ware had been 

popped out of sight by some of the yoang work women, 
vlio kQew what a searching eye the Doctor had, and did 
not care to expose anfashionable modes of living at an 
exceptionally busy period of onr history, when every 
moment was an object. 

My wife, who did not encourage this attempt at deception, 
boldly declared that we were just about to have dinner. 

** Dinner," exclaimed the Doctor, " you mean breakfast, 
it is only eleven o'clock." 

''I mean what I say, Doctor, that is dinner. Bemember 
that we have our coffee at 4 a.m., and we are now quite 
ready for a substantial meal, and if you will join us, do so." 

" Good morning," cried the Doctor, " I envy you your 
appetite, and confess that there is no tonic in my dispen- 
sary that is equal to early rising and active exercise for 
mind and body." 

Another little anecdote about the Doctor may serve 
to illustrate the kind of life we were pursuing while 
preparing for a new departure in aerial travelling. 

We were getting, to confess the truth, rather overworked, 
I had been sunning a section of the new balloon on a 
spacious plot of grass, and had remained in the open air 
after the dew began to rise, before folding up the newly 
varnished cloth, when I fancied that I had taken a chill 
throagh being overheated. 

Before I went indoors, however, the bell rang, and I 
opened the outer gate myself, when Dr. Hall presented 
himself, and on seeing me, he threw up his hands, saying, 
" Very wrong, Coxwell ! You ought to be in bed." 



I 



98 MY LIFE AND 

" Why 80 ? " I asked. 

'* Why ao ! yon have got the cholera." 

" The diokenB 1 have. Here, Mrs. C," I cried, " I 
have contracted cholera." 

" Get away in," eaid the Doctor, " I have Bomething in 
my hag for you to take at once; " and there was I, ready 
in my bewilderment, to swallow any mortal drug or 
creature comfort. 

The good wife, however, was not willing that I should 
do so. She said, "There must be some mistake here, 
Doctor, unless I am very much mistaken." 

" No, you sent up not long ago, to say that Coxwell was 
taken with cholera." 

" Not I, it is a mistake altogether," 

At that moment, the doctor's assistant came in to say, 
that it was old Cosel, the farmer, who was taken, and the 
poor man hved not far from na, but the messenger had 
pronounced his name so much like mine, that the blunder 
was excusable. 

The shock, however, was not bo readily surmounted, for 
some little time I felt us if I really bad something of the 
kind. 

The Doctor, who was not a man to stand much on 
ceremony, hastened off to Farmer Coxel, but he looked in 
on his way back, and asked what simple domestic remedy 
I bad resorted to, and when I told him that I had taken a 
glass of brandy and water, he said, " Have another, and I 
will join yon. Under the present circumstances, yoo 
could not have taken a more prudent step." 



BAIiLOOS EXPEBDESCBS. 99 

THB OBEAT BALLOON COMPLETED AT TOTTEKHAX. 

3n the third week in Jime, 1862, I was enabled to 
te throogh the medium of a local newspaper, that I 
8 perfectly ready for the eiq^eriments in which the 
itifih Association was ahoat to engage, consisting of a 
ries of observations in the npper regions with a view 

determining the laws of storms and other atmospheric 
kriations, by instraments of the most accurate and 
dicate construction. 

The fidlure with the balloon from Cremome induced the 
iommittee to seek my services, it was stated, and the 
aUoon was now completed, having been constructed in 
he immediate vicinity of my own residence. 

It's dimensions, when fully inflated, were : height 
eighty feet from the ground, diameter over fifty-five feet, 
md it was capable of containing, if fully inflated, over 
J8,000 cubic feet of gas. 

It had just been inspected by Colonel Sykes, Lord 
Wrottesley, Mr. Glaisher, and a party of gentlemen, who 
expressed their admiration of, and satisfaction with, the way 
b which I had accomplished the work of so huge a 
balloon which was to forthwith proceed to Wolverhampton 
in order to make a first ascent. 

THE INTENDED METEOROLOGICAL EXPERIMENTS. 

*' The Balloon Committee," said a morning newspaper, 
"are now in Wolverhampton, to repeat the experiments be- 
fore attempted in this town with a view to determining the 
temperature and humidity of the air at different heights, 
the time of vibration of a magnet, and to take observa- 
tions on electricity. 



534891 



r 



100 



UY LIFE AND 



"The balloon was to have ascended from the groai 
attached to the works of the Wolverhampton G 
Company. Here Mr, Glaisher, to whom the making 
the obBervations was entrusted, had ready all the vi 
dehcately ooDBtructed barometers, thermometers, vess 
for trapping the air, Professor Thomson's electrome 
(lent for the occasion) and other valnable bnt equa 
fragile instruments. 

" The falling of a considerable quantity of ra 
accompanied with a rather high wind, rendered 
impossible to ascend during the forenoon. The weath 
however, began to clear up about mid-day, and it v 
resolved that an afternoon ascent should be made, 1 
the balloon being perfectly new, the unfolding a 
spreading of it, through the adhesive nature of 1 
varnish, was the work of some time. 

" It was then found that the day had too far advanci 
and it was, perhaps, a happy circumstance that this ¥ 
80, for on account of the strong wind that was tl 
blowing, the getting clear of the earth would have hi 
attended with gi'eat risk to the safety of the instrumen 
upon the perfect condition of which, the value of 1 
experiments would depend. "Under these circumstam 
it was determined to postpone the ascent until Mond 
morning. 

'' On the 80th of June the weather prevented an asco: 
but on July 17th the work of inflating the mammc 
machine commenced at about half- past five in i 
morning, and ceased at uine, by which hour 66,000 on] 
feet of gas had been thrown in. 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 101 

"Lord Wrottesley and the Hon. Arthur Wrottesley were 

this time upon the ground, in addition to Mr. Glaisher 

Dr. Lee. A large number of the inhabitants of the 

were also present. 

''By half-past nine the car had been attached, and 

. Olaisher haying taken his seat with Mr. Goxwell, 

vast machine was liberated and ascended majestically 

an E.N.E. direction. At 9.56 it sailed beyond the 

h of observation even with a telescope. 

" The voyagers wished to descend twice, before making 

final landing. By this means Mr. Glaisher would 

able to make experiments as a check on each 

te series. The direction in which the wind blew 

idered the execution of this intention more than 

cult, as they might be on the coast before it could 

executed. 

A telegram received from Mr. Glaisher showed that 
balloon descended at Langham, near Oakham, at 
noon, after an altitude of five miles had been 
tiled. At the highest point the temperature was 
8°, the air very dry, and the electricity positive. 
"The distance travelled in two hours was about sixty 
jtaOeg. 
"Had Mr. Coxwell remained above the clouds another 
:i|wir, Mr. Glaisher would have found himself in the neck 
the Wash. 

'* The way in which so lofty a course was executed in so 
if^ a time, elicited general approval after the Committee 
been apprised of the details." 



k 



4 



102 MY LIFE AND 

WR. glaishek's report. 
Published by request of the Committee, which codui 
of:— 

Colonel Sykeb. Mr. Fairbairn. 

ProfeBsoi- Airy. Lord Wrotteslet. 

Sir D. Bhewstbh. Sir J. Herschel. 

Admiral Fitzhoy. Dr. Lloyd. 

Dr. Lee. 
Dr. W. A. Miller. 

Dr. HoBINSON. 

Mr. Gassiot. 
Mr. Glaisheh. 
Dr. Tyndall. 

OBJECTS OF THE EXPERIMENTS. 

The primary ohjecta were : — The determination of 
temperature of the air, and its hygrometrical states, 
different elevations, as h'lgli as possible. 

The secondary objects were ; — 

To determine the temperature of the dew-point 
Daniell's dew-point hygrometer, by Regnault's coudend 
hygrometer, and by dry and wet bulb thermometers 
ordinarily used, aa well as when under the influence of tl 
aspirator ; so that considerable volumes of air were mad 
to pass over both their bnlbs, at different elevations, 
high as possible, but particularly up to those heights win 
man may be resident, or where troops may be located, 
in the high lands and plains of Lidia, with the vieW' 
ascertaining what confidence may be placed in the usa 
the dry and wet bulb thermometers at those eleyations,' 
comparison with the results as fonnd from them, and yf. 



BALLOON BXPRBIENGES. 103 

ihoBe found directly by Daniell's and Kegnault's hygro- 
meterSy and to compare the results as foond from the two 
hygrometers together. 

To compare the readings of an aneroid barometer with 
those of a mercurial barometer up to five miles. 

To determine th,e electrical state of the air. 

To determine the oxygenic condition of the atmosphere 
by means of ozone papers. 

To determine the time of vibration of a magnet on the 
earth, and at different distances from it. 

To collect air at different eleyations. 

To note the height and kind of clouds, their density 
and thickness. 

To determine, if possible, the rate and direction of 
different currents in the atmosphere. 

To make observations on sound. 

To note atmospherical phenomena in general, and to 
make general observations. 

INSTRUMENTS AND APPARATUS. 

The instruments used were mercurial and aneroid 
barometers, dry and wet bulb thermometers, Daniell's dew- 
point hygrometer, Kegnault's condensing hygrometer, 
maximum and minimum thermometers, a magnet for 
horizontal vibration, hermetically sealed glass tubes, from 
which air had been exhausted, ozone papers, and an 
electrometer lent by Prof. W. Thomson, of Glasgow. 

Barometers, — The mercurial barometer employed in all 
the ascents — a Gay-Lussac's syphon barometer by Mr. P. 
Aidie — was one of those used by Mr. Welsh in the year 
1852, in his experiments. The inner diameter of its tube 



! 104 MS LIFE AND 

I IB 0.25 inch. The graduations were made on a. brass scalej 
from its middle point npwards and downwards, each 
division was about 0.05 inch in length, representing twice 
that vainc, no that an observation of either the lower or 
upper surface of the mercury would give the approximate 
length of the column of mercury. 

The barometer was furnished with its own thermometer, 
the bulb of the latter being immersed in a tube of mercury 
I of the same diameter as that of the barometer, 
I This instrument sometimes read more than 20° in 
excess of that of the sensitiTe air-thermometer. 

The aneroid barometers were made by Messrs. Negretti 
and Zambra ; one was graduated to thirteen inches and 
the other to five inches, the latter insti-ument having been 
used in later ascents. 

DRY AND WET-BDIiB THERMOMETEBS. 

Two pairs of these were employed, one being protected 
by a double highly -polished silver shade, in the form of & 
frnstrnm of a cone, open a.t top and bottom. A cistern 
was fixed near to them, from which water was conveyed 
to the wet-bulb thermometer. 

The bulbs of the second pair of dry and wet bulb 
thermometers were enclosed in two silver tubes placed 
Bide by side, and connected together by a cross tube 
joining their upper ends, and over both were placed 
double shades as in the other pair of thennometers. In 
the left-band tube was placed the dry-bulb, and in the 
right-hand tube the wet-bulb thermometer. Towards the 
lower end of the left-hand tube there was an opening; 
by means of the aspirator, a current of air was drawn in 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 105 

at this aperture, then passed the dry-bulb in its upward 
passage into the small horizontal tube, and thence into 
the right-hand tube, passing downwards over the wet-bulb, 
and away by a jQexible tube into the aspirator. These 
instruments were made by Messrs. Negretti & Zambra. 
regnault's condensing hygrometer. 

This instrument by the same makers, was constructed 
with two thermometers, as described by Hegnault in the 
Annuaire Miteorologique de la France^ for 1849, excepting 
that it was furnished with silver«-gilt cups. The scale was 
of ivory, and the two thermometers were fixed in their 
cups by means of cork, for ready packing up. 

DanieWs Hygrometer was of the usual construction. 

Exhausted Tubes for collecting air. These were partly 
constructed by Mr. Casella. 

The Thermometers were exceedingly sensitive. The 
bulbs were long and cylindrical, being about three-fourths 
of an inch in length, one-twelfth of an inch in diameter. 
The graduations, extended to minus 40®, were all on 
ivory scales. 

These thermometers on being removed from a room 
heated 20° above that of an adjoining apartment, acquired 
the temperature within half a degree in about ten or 
twelve seconds ; but in passing from a heated apartment 
to one of lower temperature, it took more than double 
the time to approximate to within half a degree of the 
latter. 

MR. GLAISHER's report OF THE FIRST ASCENT. 

" One end of the car was occupied by Mr. Coxwell; near 
the other, in front of myself, was placed a board or table, 




106 BfY LIFE AND 

the extremities of which rested on the sides of the car ; 
upon this board were placed suitable framework to carrj 
the several thermometers, hygrometers, magnet, aneroid 
barometer, &c., a perforation through it admitted th^ 
lower branch of the mercurial barometer to descend below^ 
leaving the upper branch at a convenient height fo 
observing. A watch was set to Greenwich time, an 
placed directly opposite to myself. The central space o 
the table was occupied by my note-book. The aspirate 
was fixed underneath the centre of the board, so as to b 
conveniently workable by either my feet or hands. Holes 
were cut in the board to admit the passage of the flexibl 
tubes, one of which passed to Begnault's hygrometer 
and the other to the place of the dry-and-wet-bul 
thermometers previously referred to, both the tubes bein 
furnished with stop-cocks. 

" The Balloon was inflated at the Stafford Boad Ga^ 
Works, with carburetted gas, most carefully prepared hy 
the Engineer, Mr. Thomas Proud, and frequently kept 3u 
long time for our use, the Directors of the Gas Company 
having most liberally, to their great inconvenience, placeJ- 
a gasometer at our disposal for as long a time as w^ 
needed it. 

** The weather previously had been bad for a long time^ 
and the ascent had in consequence been delayed som^ 
days, the wind was still blowing strong from the west^ 
and considerable difficulty was experienced in the pre-' 
liminary arrangements, and no instrument was placed in- 
its position before starting. 

** The ascent took place at 9h. 43m. a.m., and at onc^ 



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1 111 


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ili ' jl 


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ill f !ilr~ « 





H 31 



i^ 



BALLOON EXPEBIENOES. 107 

tte balloon was qniescent. A height of 8,800 feet was 

^cached before an observation could be taken; at 4,000 

ftet clouds were entered, which were left at 8,000 feet. 

The temperature of the air fell to 88®, and a height 

^^oeeding 10,000 feet had been passed before all the 

uistruments were in working order. The sky was 

tb.on noticed to be of a deep blue colour, without a 

cloud of any kind upon its surface. 

^' At starting, the temperature of the air was SQ'', and 
i^Av-point 55° ; at 4,000 feet it was 45% dew-point 83% 
8-^d descended to 26** at 10,000 feet, dew-point 19% and 
^Ixcn there was no variation of temperature between this 
ti^ight and 13,000 feet. During the time of passing 
^liTough this space, both Mr. Coxwell and myself put on 
^^ditional clothing, feeling certain that we should ex- 
perience a temperature below zero before we reached five 
^^iles high, but to my surprise, at the height of 15,500 feet, 
"temperature, as shown by all the sensitive instruments, was 
3l% dew-point 25°, and at each successive reading up to 
19, 500 feet, the temperature increased, and was here at 
42% dew-point 24°. We had both thrown off all extra 
clothing. 

** Within two minutes after this time, when we had fallen 
somewhat, the temperature began to decrease with extra- 
ordinary rapidity, and was 16°, or 27° less than it was 26 
minutes before : at this time a height of five miles had 
been reached at about 11 a.m. 

" When the balloon had attained a height of four miles, 
I wished to descend for one or two miles, and then to 
re-ascend, but Mr. Coxwell, who had been watching i 




108 MY LIFE AND 

|»rogreaB with reference to the clouds below, felt cei'tain 
that we were too near the Wash ; prndence, tberefore, 

jansed ns to abandon the attempt. 

Mr. Coxwell had reserved a large amount of ballast, 
which he discharged as quickly as possible to check the 
tepidity of the descent, as we came down fast, passing 
from a height of 16,300 feet, to one of 12,400 feet, between 
lib. 38m., and llh. 39m., dipping then into a dense 
cloud at this elevation, which proved to be no less than 
8,000 feet in thickness, and, whilst passing through this, 

the balloon was invisible from the car. 

" Notwithstanding all his exertions we collected weight 
by the condensation of that immense amount of vapour 
through which we had passed, the descent was necessarily 
Tery rapid, and we came to the earth with a considerable 
shock, which broke nearly all the instmments. 

" The descent took place at Langham, near Oakham, in 

Bntlaudshire. in a meadow near the residence of Mr. E. G. 

Baker, from whom we received the utmost attention." 

MY OWN VERSION OF Oim FIRST moH ASCENT. 

Happily I have "nothiag to extenuate," but still, 
something supplementary to offer — for the first time by 
the way — aa to ray own impi-esaions of this primary essay 
in purely scientific ballooning. Of course I shall do bo in 
iny own way, and shall not affect the scientific treatment 
accorded by Mr. Glaisher. It will be seen, or may now be 
isfeiTed by the reader, that, in an undertaking of this 
iind, two different kinds of men are required — the 
observer, who is intent and devoted to his instruments 
and the pilot, who in new fields of aerial exploration 



BALLOON EXPEBIENOES. 109 

ninst, to be snccessful, have studied and grasped the 

requirements of the Association and of the Meteorologist, 

so as to be able to place the said observer in the most 

^AVonrable positions as to height, quick or slow movement 

^^ a vertical or horizontal direction, and above all, to 

6^8nre safety, if possible, in such changeful and precarious 

^oik, so that the balloon, the instruments, and — far more 

*t».a.n either — ^the life of the Meteorologist, should be 

^^xisidered and preserved. 

The practical department being so all essential, it is 

^Aa.tter for wonder that we find in the annals of aeronautics 

^Ixat scientific men sometimes, instead of seeking the aid 

^f scientific aeronauts, have undertaken these double 

ixities themselves, the natural result being, that bewilder- 

'^ent and inattention, ending of course in failure and 

Occident, have more than once flowed from an attempt to 

^o great things in two difierent branches of science which 

^ire totally distinct, and a knowledge of which is seldom 

found in one and the same person, however aspiring and 

Varied may be his mental powers. 

It was well, perhaps, for the honour of the British 
Association, that the importance of a proper division of 
labour had been accepted, though not thought of at first, 
^hen the small Cremorne balloon was engaged to do 
giant's work, and also when my small balloon was sent 
for, as if these comparatively diminutive machines could 
do what they were to all appearances expected to do. 
That simple yet all important part of the business had 
been, I fear, overlooked by the Committee, but no sooner 
bad Mr. Glaisher's attention been called to this omission. 



MY LIFE AND 



■lio 

H than he proceeded to make his own calculations, which 
H 1)ore out the roughly formed Gstimate which I had made 
^t myself, when I undertook to provide a snitahle balloon for 
^B.a five mile ascent. 

^r The antecedent high aecents which had been bo ably 
made by Mr. Welsh in the year 1852, under the manage- 
ment of Mr. C. Green, were conducted in the far-&,med 
I" Nassau Balloon." 
It was supposed that, owing to age and its behavionr at 
a previous trial. Green's balloon was unequal to fresh duties 
in which the temperature of the air would undergo rapid 
variations and attain to excessive cold. All these drawbacks 
led up to the acceptance of my ofl'er, and I was pleased to 
find that the trial trip with Mr. Glaisher from Wolver- 
hampton, bore out the opinions I had formed of tin 
expeditiously designed piece of workmanship, and although 
I did not consider or pronounce it to be, at the outset, so 
perfect as it could afterwards be made by further varnishing, 
still, the stipulated height had been attained, and had it 
not been for the abnormal condition of that elevation 
where the clouds had accumulated, and the irregular 
reduction of temperature which was met with, the 
probability is that a more gi'adual descent would have 

I been made, and that no instruments would have been 
broken. A new balloon, however strange it may appear, 
is seldom so tight in its holding properties as the fabric 
becomes after it has been distended and used somewhat, 
then, indeed, another dressing tends to fill up all disturbed 
specks and pores which may have developed themselves by 
coming to the surface, and which may have remained 



BALLOON EXPBBIBNCES. Ill 

unseen to the naked eye until the superficial skin of oil 
is rnbbed off. 

This apprehension induced me to re-varnish my balloon 
before again using it, and we found that the next 
descent and the amount of ballast expended seemed to 
bear out our expectations ; at the same time, the con- 
ditions of the atmosphere on the second occasion were 
not, as will be seen by Mr. Glaisher's second report, 
at all similar to the meteorological state of the air on 
July 17th. 

I have frequently in lectures (which have not, however, 
appeared in book form) expressed my astonishment and 
admiration of the personal bearing of Mr. Glaisher 
in the balloon car, when he undertook, without previous 
schooling and initiation, to go up to an altitude of five 
miles. I had never myself been to that elevation, but 
had been, when alone in Germany, as high as I could 
get with a balloon of 34,000 feet capacity ; but this calm 
and self-possessed start on the part of Mr. Glaisher 
satisfied me as to his having the requisite qualifications 
for the duties upon which he had entered. I thought, 
too, that he even seemed to take a delight in the mode 
of travelling itself, and of the sight-seeing, scenery, and 
doud-scapes, which from time to time presented them- 
selves, irrespective of the philosophical uses to which his 
notes and deductions were to be turned subsequently, 
when they were studied and gone into in his own 
systematic way. This to me was particularly gratifying, 
as I had read and heard of attempts by scientific men 
years previously, who had trembled in the car, and could 



112 MY LIFE AND 

not do justice to their owb powers and abilities for wani 
of nerve. 

Perhaps the previous interchange of views I had enjoyt 
with Mr. Glaisher, and the acconnta I had given him of ra; 
more interesting trips, had a stimnlating and inapirii 
effect ; then, I maj add, that he had been staying for sonw 
time in Wolverhampton, wliere I had frequently ascended, 
and never had a mishap, and where I also had many 
old friends who had perhaps spoken of me in favourable 
terms, as accustomed to high ascents. 

Mr. Proud, the engineer of the Gas Works, had often 
seen and filled my balloon, and no doubt the same gentle- 
man might have reconnted how I had spoken to him as to 
my sentiments and plans ia connection with these scientific 
aacentB, and how anxious I was to be provided with the 
lightest possible gas, and how fully I had made up my 
mind to eventually surpass all previous flights to high 
altitudes, by such a culminating exploration, as would sorely 
test our lungs and our hcBrts, hot which I fully intendeS 
should leave a mark which could not easily bo sui-passed,, 
and which would furnish the British Association with. 
records with which they would not be displeased. 

Whether Mr. Glaisher had heard of the hatching of this 
wicked plot, 1 cannot say, but he seemed after he had once 
tasted of the perils and delights of ballooning, to tacitly 
approve of the sketchy outline which he did not denoanoa. 
and for which he positively appeared to entertain a relish. 

When we came down with a sharp thump, after 
emerging from that deep and dense cloud of 8,000 feet in 
thickness, I remember thinking that " this will be bis first 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 118 

and last attempt." I offered some explanation of the 
unexpected sharp contact with the earthy bnt Mr. Glaisher 
seemed to think very little of personal discomfort^ it was 
his instmments about which he was anxious, as he would 
not be ready for the next ascent quite so soon as he could 
wish, owing to the fact that replacement would take 
some little time> unless the opticians were ready with 
duplicates. 



d 



114 MY LIFE AND 




CHAPTER VI. 

T was qnite encouraging to find that Mr. Glaisher was 
neither particularly surprised nor disheartened by 
the rough landing; this, to me, was a promising 
augury, so that no very great length of time elapsed 
before I informed Mr. Glaisher of a proposed . ascent 
from the Crystal Palace, when, if he thought some 
observations at a lower elevation would be worth having, 
I should be glad if he would take his seat, and obtain 
as much information as he possibly could during my 
exhibition ascents. 

To such an earnest gleaner of every scrap of fresh 
Meteorological information, this suggestion was not an 
unwelcome one. Consequently our journeys for two or 
three years were not confined to strictly private voyages to 
excessive elevations, but embraced many instructive trips 
on festive occasions, all of which helped the cause we had 
both at heart, and gratified many who had • the honour of 
ascending with Mr. Glaisher. 

But before we appear on the heights of Sydenham, I 
must allude to my return to Tottenham and of 

THE RECEPTION I MET WITH AT HOME. 

I do not know whether I shall be charged with maivkish 
sentimentality in referring to domestic influences, but 



BeieBe I hold, form as nsefal an addition to one's anto- 
^ Itiography as the more public and attractive features of 
daily life. 

Respecting the first ascent of my new balloon, I found 
that gossiping neighbours had expanded and contracted 
much that the papers had omitted ; the main facta I had 
heen told by letter, concisely it is true, and but cantiouBly 
oommunicated, no attempt having been made to explain away 
a lot of vile rumours, to wit, that we had been frozen to 
death, and got out of the earth's attraction, and had met 
with a frightful singeing in a limo kiin ; all that sort of 
thing was bred of spite and calumny, and is not alluded to 
as worthy of correction ; but travels, even in the trackless 
air, where I have never yet met with any uncomely forms, 
do somehow occasionally obtain ancanuy distortions, and 
I was not sorry to get back in better trim, and altogether 
more my old self than when I left home after being so 
horribly lame and after that dreadful attack of cholera, 
which drove me to the spu'it bottle before I could shake 
off its effects. 

Well, to pm'Bue my narrative, I may observe that if any 
reader of these disclosures happens to be an ansious wife, 
united to a person who, having bolted off a short distance 
clean out of this planet, and having come back a wiser and 
DO worse a man, goes home in an apologetic, rather than a 
defiant spirit, to account for hia abacnce — such, a reader 
can imagine, my return from cloudland, and the greeting 
I undeservedly received. I had aggravated some few 
relations by defying, as they thought, Providence, and by 
ftirther courting danger, in wilfully springing fEOxa. ^bb 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 115 



t 



116 NY EJFB AND 

frying-pan into the fire, as I was said to have done, ani 
I had to bear the consequencea. 

"Ah to tannts, do allow them to entertain their oob- 
victiona," I said, " but do not dwell on the dark side of tte 
pietnre. You will soon be wanted," I told my wife, "at 
the Crystal Palace to be complimented on the succesB of 
onr united labours. Friend Ohren will be there, and Mr. 
Glaishar, also the manager, Mr. Boley, who has shaken me 
warmly by the hand, nnd here are free passes, so do soon 
invite our work-people to be ready for an outing, let na hava 
0. cordial gathering, and though you do not care for pomp 
and show, you must needs be there, just to maintain my 
credit, yon know, and your own, and that of all the good 
people who have helped to send ua op. I must away tO 
Sydenham in tho morning, as I have to make an inspection 
of the balloons, but come early nest day, and do not stand 
upon ceremony, and as to my tempting Providence — but 
there, I have simply tried to advance science and do my 
duty, we can look up, therefore, and fear no one's tanntflj 
for ' nothing succeeds like success,' and that kind of thing 
is only too often accompanied by the envy of those who 
ahould be the last to speak severely or mahciously of ooT 
conduct and intentiona." 

With these encouraging remarks, I once more entered on 
a fresh phase of public baUooning. 

OUR ASCENT FROM THE CRYSTAL PAIAOB. 

Mr. Glaisher's account was as follows : — 

" Mr. Coxwell having planned an ascent with hie largfr 

balloon from tlie Crj-atal Palace, I availed myself of the 



BALLOON EXFEBIENCE8. 117 

offer of a seat in the car, for the purpose of taking a series 
of observations upon the variations of temperature and the 
seyeral hygrometrical states of the atmosphere at moderate 
eloTations, in each of which paths of enquiry, I had failed 
to attain satisfactory results in my recent ascent at 
Wolverhampton. 

" The instruments necessary for these investigations were 
in the hands of Messrs. Negretti & Zambra, and were 
those, which, having been broken on the occasion of my 
previous adventure with the same balloon, were confided to 
them for renewal and repair ; they executed their task in 
a Tery satisfactory manner, and it is but fair to add that 
these gentlemen have at all times expressed an earnest 
desire to promote the experiments required by the British 
Association. All the other instruments were at Wolver- 
hampton, ready for the next high ascent. 

"The balloon left the earth at 4h. 40m. laden with 
thirteen gentlemen, and a large amount of sand and ballast, 
and under the influence of a moderate breeze, bore away 
slowly nearly S.E., passing successively Eltham, Dartford, 
and the village of Singlewell, near Gravesend. 

" The heights of the balloon were as follows, at 4h. 
43m. 1,840 feet above the level of the sea ; at 4h. 49m. 
8,700 feet, increasing slowly, until at 5h. 17m. it was 
5,300 feet, on throwing out sand it rose to 5,500, and 
6,600 feet, by 6h. 12m. it had reached an altitude of 
7,100 feet. 

" Between 4h. 46m. and 5h. Im., the altitude and 
azimuth of the balloon were observed at the Royal Obser- 
vatory at Greenwich, by E. J. Stone, Esq., M.A. 



r 



I 



118 MY UFB AND 

The temperature of the air was 68° at the Cryatstt 
Palace, at 1,000 feet high it was 62°, at 3,700 feet it waft 
61° ; it continuetl at this reading nearly till the height of 
4,600 feet was reached, at 6h. 4m. and at an altitude of 
5,700 feet it varied between 4S° and 50°, and decreased 
from 48 to 43J-'' between 6h. 31m. and 5h. 38m., the 
height at the latter time being G,100 feet. At the height 
of 7,350 feet the temperatare was 41°, being 27° lower 
than on the surface of the earth. After this the tempera- 
ture rose gradually aa the fcalloon deaeeuded, and was 47' 
at 6h. 20m,, 50° at 6h. 24m., and G8° on reaching the 
ground. 

" The temperatnre of the dew-point, or that temperature 
at which the moisture in tlie air, in the invisible shape of 
vapour, ia deposited as water upon the objects cooled down 
to this temperatare, was as follows : — 

" In the Gardena of the Crystal Palace this deposit of 
water took place when the temperature of the bulb of the 
hygrometer was rednced by the action of ether to 50° ; b 
the height of 1,300 feet the bulb was bedewed at 43' 
between 3,000 and 4,500 feet at 40°, then up to 6,000 feet, 
at temperatures gradually decreasing ; at about 7,300 feet, 
at a httle below 32°, and it afterwards increased to 47° on 
reaching the earth. 

" When the air ia satoratod with moisture, as in a wetting 
fog, the temperature of the air and dew-points ia the aame.. 
On this occasion, on the earth, the latter temperature waa 
18° below the former, and at the highest elevation 9°, bo^ 
that the air was nowhere saturated. From a knowledge of. 
the temperature of the dew-point, can be ascertained the* 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 119 

amount of water present in a certain mass of air ; this 
amounted in the grounds of the Crystal Palace to four 
grains in a cubic foot, at 1,800 feet high, to three 
grainSy at 5,000 feet to two-and-a-half grains, while 
at 7,800 feet there were only about two grains in a cubic 
foot of air. 

*' As the amount of aqueous vapour in the air necessarily 
decreases with the temperature, the changes of the hygro- 
metric condition of the air at different elevations, may be 
better understood by speaking of the relative humidity of 
the atmosphere, air as saturated with moisture being 
represented by 100, and air without moisture by 0. 

" The humidity of the air thus expressed was, on the 
surface of the ground, fifty, showing an unusual degree of 
dryness. It increased as we left the earth to sixty-three 
at 8,000 feet, to sixty-six at 4,000 feet, and to seventy at 
7,800 feet; and the air gradually became less humid on 
approaching the earth. At no point, therefore, was 
complete saturation met with, as before noticed. The 
weight of a cubic foot of air varied from 526 grains on the 
ground to 429 grains at the greatest height reached. 

" Similar and simultaneous observations were taken at 
the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, from which we learn 
that the temperature of the air on the surface of the ground 
varied from 67° to 68°, that of the dew-point from 49° to 
51°, that there were about four grains of water in a cubic 
foot of air ; the degree of humidity was about fifty, and the 
weight of a cubic foot of air was 526 grains ; therefore the 
differences at the highest elevations from these values are 
due to the elevation alone. 



I 120 M¥ LIFE AND 



1 



F 

^M " Test ozone papers wero not colonred at all, and no 

^r ozone was noticed in the aseent from Wolverhampton. 

H We were never in the cloads, althongh rocky camnll, which 

H it will be remembered, are the fine massive clouds of the 

H day — were at a lower elevation than ourselves. The sky 

H was free from clonda in the zenith, and of a deeper hlne 

^P than as seen from the earth. At times there was a great 

mist, and generally the horizon was hazy and obscm'e, tho 

shadow of the balloon was seen both on the gromid, as 

well as on the snrface of the clond. 

" A horizontal magnet occapied a somewhat longer time 
to perform a certain number of vibrations, both in this as 
well as in the previous ascent, than it did on the snrface of 
the earth. This is contrary to the result obtained hy 
Gay-LuHsac in 1804. 

" At 6h. 24m. a gun was heard with a sharp sound ; at 
5h. 25m., a drum; at 5h. S6m., a band; at 5h. 38m., a 
gun ; at 6h. 10m., a dog barking, and the working of tho 

I engines on the Dover and Chatham Railway, was distinctly 
heard. 
"I have to thank W. F. Ingelow, Esq., for kindly 
reading one barometer for me, and for rendering 
considerable assistance in noticing the first appearance 
of dew on the black bulb of Daniell's hygrometer, 
enabling me, thereby, greatly to increase the number of 
my own obeeiTations. The gas furnished, must have l 
been of good quality to hare raised so great a weight to 
such an elevation. 

" The descent was managed by Mr. Coxwell so skilfully, 
1 that no instrumont was injured in the slightest degree, and 



BALLOON EXPEHIENCES, 121 

in fact, the approach to earth was so gradual, that there 
TVft3 scarcely need to steady one's self. 

"JAMES GLAISHER, 
"Royal Observatory, July Slat, 1862." 

AN UH80IENT1PIC BUT GBAPHIO DESOBIPTION BY A VOYAa&B. 

" About ten days a^o Mr. Glaisher of the Royal Obser- 
vatory, Greenwich, made a balloon ascent with the view of 
ascertaining and registering the temperature, density, and 
humidity of the atmosphere at an altitude to which 
previous aeronauts have seldom thought it desirable to 
mount. Under Mr, Coxwell's able management the new 
Mammoth Balloon — by far the largest over constructed, 
and capable of containing not less than 90,000 cubic feet 
of gas — reached the enormous height of five miles. It 
was determined to make similar observations in the lower 
strata of the atmoBphere, and another ascent was accord- 
ingly arranged to taJte place. 

" At about four o'clock in the afternooon, the enormous 
folds of the oiled cloth began to expand as the gas was 
sent into the balloon. Mr. Coxwell was at his post. Mr. 
Glaisher, armed with a host of abstruse instruments 
famished by Messrs. Negretti & Zambra, took his seat in 
the car ; the favoured few who were privileged to join in 
the ascent ranged thenieelves around him, and the balloon 
being steadied for awhile, a photographic view of it was 
taken. The Mammotli was then let go amidst a heai'ty 
cheer from the spectators. As it was Mr. Coxwell's 507th 
ascent, and not Mr. Glaisher's first, it ia probable that 
neither of them felt any nervoasness on the occasion ; bat 



132 MY LIFE AND 

tlioBe who were now about to be introdaced for the first 
time to the regions of upper air received an enormona 
amount of facetious condolence and sympathy from the 
friends they left below, which was not altogether reasanring 
in its character. 

" At exactly thirty-six minutes paat four the ascent 
commenced, and the motion was soon found to be aa 
pleasant as it was peculiar. Casting out ballast and 
rapidly rising, tho aerial voyagers soon began to have a 
view of the Palace which was entirely of a novel character. 
Palace and gardens, all could be seen at a single glance, 
and the singular taste and felicity with which the latter 
had been laid out were far more vividly impressed upon 
the mind of the spectator, than could possibly have been 
the case by the ablest description, or the moat accurate 



" Before many minutes had elapsed, the Palace looked 
no bigger than a model ; and by the time an altitude of 
two-tbirds of a mile bad been attained, the cows in the 
fields seemed of tho size of small flint pebbles. The 
landscape that gradually opened on the view was of the 
loveliest that England could show ; and as sudden flashes 
of light lit up and kindled the distant reaches of the 
Thames into golden gloiy, which grew more and more 
intense every minute, all who were not engaged in scien- 
tific observations were in ecstacies with the beauty of the 
scene. 

" Farmhouses and outbuildings, rows of pleasant villas, , 
and long straggling village streets, all grew smaller and 
smaller; away towards London there was a dense haze 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 128 

that mingled with the smoke clouds of the great city, and 
hid it from the view ; but there was an ahnost subUme 
suggestion of MetropoKtan grandeur in the very extent of 
the clouds which were required to conceal it. 

" Drifting pleasantly along, rising still, but journeying 
slowly, the balloon now passed over the village of Eltham. 
The vast hall, which tradition associates with the name of 
King John, seemed like the toy-house of a child. 

" It was about this time that one of the strangest sensa- 
tions of the journey began to be observed. This was the 
seeming disappearance of the whole human race. Not a 
peasant could be seen in the fields, not a single group of 
village gossips was to be noticed in the streets. There was 
a strange loueHness in thus journeying through the air, 
but it had many charms about it. 

" Mr. Glaisher was busily at work ; but when he was 
able to snatch a moment's leisure from his occupation, he 
joined heartily in the Kvely talk with which the travellers 
beguiled the time. 

** At an elevation of exactly a mile from the earth, the 
health of the Queen was proposed, and the philosophic 
potations of lemonade were followed by the lustiest 
cheering that ever British lungs gave vent to at such a 
height. There were thirteen persons in the car, but in 
despite of this ill-omened number, there were no croakers 
on board the aerial ship. Everybody was in the mood 
for enjoyment, and it must have been a dull eye and a 
feeble brain indeed that could not have rejoiced in the 
glorious panorama that was unrolled beneath. 

" As more ballast was thrown out, the yellow clouds of 



124 HT LIFE AND 

Band went floating and wavering graeefally until they were 
lost to the sight. Meanwhile there was not a brook wliich 
the aanshine did not light np into loveliness, and when the 
Tivid rays fell npon any expanse of glass, they seemed to ' 
transform a conservatory into a 'koh-i-noor,' Shadows, 
shifting every moment, wandered and played over woodland 
and meadow and gorae-eovered heath, and even the high 
roads, winding along past the ripening cornfields, seemed 
like rivoi-s in the sunlight. 

" The uloud scenery now began to dovelope itself into its 
full beanty. That every elond has a silver lining is a 
popular belief; but it is not the privilege of many to see 
that the cloud has a sm-face too of the same metal. There 
was at one time, if the expression may be pardoned — end 
it ia one which, when used in the ear itself, was felt to be 
appropriate — an absolute snowstorm of sunshine, a flood of 
lustre and light, which stmck either npon the broad bosom 
of the clouds, or upon their jaggod edges, varying every 
instant, yet only changing irom one form of splendour 
to another. When the eys — almost fatigued with this 
exuberance of colour — rested again upon the earth, 
fresh features of interest presented themselves. 

" Announced to the car before it was distinctly recog- 
nisable by the eye, the march of a body of volunteers now 
attracted attention. There was a strango fascination about 
the faint notes of music that came floating up through the 
air, so distinctly, that at times the tune could be recognised. 
Indeed, at the gi'catest height that was reached, the barking 
of a dog could be plainly heard. The motion of the 
balloon was slow, and it ascended in a series of spiral 



BALLOON EXPEBIENGE8. 125 

cnryes^ which vaxied the view incessantly. Very strange 
it was to see how everything was dwarfed by the distance. 
Woodlands, full of stately trees, seemed no larger and no 
t^er than the furze-bushes on a common. Railway trains 
oddly resembled caterpillars as they appeared to crawl 
along through the deep chalk cuttings, yet the beating of 
their engines was easily heard. 

" There was much haze about the horizon, and some of 
the effects which are generally seen in ascents were there- 
fore not to be witnessed ; but as the balloon reached the 
greatest height which was intended — namely about a mile- 
and-a-half — the spectacle, which throughout had been so 
beautiful^ assumed an entirely new character, that of 
mountainous and Alpine grandeur. 

** The cloud cumuli now lay below, though the delicate 
wreaths and traceries of the cirri were still far above. 
The enormous clouds appeared now like gigantic castles, 
now like the fastnesses of Nature herself. Massive 
buttresses and ramparts seemed to be reared by unseen 
hands, and so little wind was stirring, that all this 
gorgeous pageantry of cloudland was not fretted and 
frittered away before the changing breeze, but remained 
as though it were destined to endure for ever. As the 
balloon moved on, its shadow began to be watched with 
interest by the passengers. 

" The Thames, which was being rapidly approached, had 
lost, by this time, all the glittering brightness of the 
earlier part of the journey, and, as Mr. Glaisher was 
satisfied with his observations, and as no one was desirous 
of drifting down Sea Eeach, it was determined to descend. 



I 



126 MY LIPB AND 

Mr. 01aisher's health, by-the-by6j had been proposed, anA 
received, with what may be called aerial hoQonra. 

" Perceiving that the balloon was now in the neighbonr- 
hood of Gravesend, Mr. Coxwell preferred to efl'eet th^ 
descent on the flonth side of the river, though the Esses, 
marshes had been frequently suggested as a good place for 
the purpose. The fall was rapid at first, but completely 
under the control of the experienced aeronaut. As tha 
balloon neared the earth, a rather nopleasant pioBpect 
presented itself in the shape of a .hop-garden. Hop- ' 
gardens are exceedingly picturesque in themselves, no 
doubt, bat they were not regarded with any pleasure on 
this occasion, as their sharp poles became distinctly 
visible, and seemed ominous of discomfoi't, if not of 
danger. Just clearing the poles by a few feet, the car 
gave a thump as it touebed the ground in a field at 
Singlewell at about a quarter to seven. A pleasant ride 
to Crravesend, and thence to London terminated an 
expedition which was in every way most succeBsfuI and 
agreeable. Its scientific results will shortly be made 
known by Mr. Glaisher." 

THE TINIUCHT NDIdBEB OF OUK PARTY. 

Although we were thirteen all told, I forget who made 
up the last and odd number ; I rather think it was Mr. — 
now Sir George Grove. I remember his getting in, very 
unobtrusively, with a slouched hat on, as if he did not 
care to be recognised by the sightseers. But we must 
certainly not pronounce Sir George the unlucky one — 
possibly it might have been (if the omen holds good) one 



BALLOON EXPEBIENCES. 127 

of the officers who ascended with me. I cannot say if 
poor Bnrnaby was with as on that occasion, but I know 
ihat many are long since dead, and, as Mr. Glaisher and 
I were probably the oldest of the thirteen, it is noteworthy 
that, notwithstanding the many trials we haye had to 
undergo, we should be still here, while several much 
yoimger men have passed away. 

The late Mr. Prowse, who wrote the above account for 
the Daily Telegraph, did not live more than two or three 
years after enjoying this and other aerial voyages. 

My esteemed friend Mr. W. F. Ingelow, died suddenly 
in October, 1886. 

A GLANCE AT THE SITUATION. 

My new balloon having acquitted herself creditably in 
accomplishing the allotted elevation of five miles to begin 
with, and having taken up thirteen persons in a semi- 
scientific trip from the Crystal Palace, on July 30th, I was 
pretty well prepared to meet my friends, and to face my 
traducers, some of whom — and these in the aeronautic line 
"^had declared that " if my hastily made afiiair would keep 
up eight persons for an hour, it would be about the extent 
of her power, and as to going five or six miles, it was 
impossible with such a heavy, ill-constructed bag. People 
ought to know better than to entrust themselves to my 
care." A frightful smash would certainly take place, and 
then how cruel it was to impose upon, and sacrifice the 
life of, so confiding a man as Mr. Glaisher. 

I just give a sample of the kind of worry which is 
almost sure to fall to the lot of those who boldly make a 



I 



I 



128 JtY LIFE AND 

new departure without getting tbe approval and aanctioo 
of perBODS with whom they have been acqnaiated ; this ia 
frequently held to be an nnpardonable act, — " had yon 
asked my advice," some of them argued, "I could have pat 
you right," and if you beg to differ from their conclusions 
and ask, "but where am I wrong?" then posaiblj you ara 
told, "in every respect you are wrong" After this, I never 
paid further attention to what such humbugs had to say, 
concluding that contempt should be the reward of their 
folly, so I turned a deaf ear to my criticB, and expressing 
myself grateful for genuine encouragement, proceeded 
on my way back to Wolverhampton for the next high 
ascent. 

THE BBCOND HIGH iSCENT ON AD0D8T 18tH. 

In looking at the number of pages occupied in giving a 
description of the two first ascents, I find that a very 
concise account must be made of the next attempt, so as 
to leave more space for a narrative of the ascent 
miles, and I am anxious to tell my o^vn story, and describe 
my feelings during these awful thirteen minutes when I 
began to think that the naelancholy forebodings I have 
hinted at, were actually about to be realised. 

Ml'. Glaisher wrote as follows : — " The weather on the 
18th ultimo was favourable, there was but little wind, and 
that blowing from the N.E. By noon the balloon was 
nearly inflated, and as it merely swayed in a light wind, 
all the instruments were fixed before starting, and at 
Ih. 2m. 38k. p.m., Mr. Coxwell pulled the spring-catch. 
For a moment the balloon remained motionless, and then 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 129 

rose steadily, almost perpendicularly. This ascent was 
aU that coutd be desired. 

" In about ten minutes we passed through a fine cumulus 
cloud, and then emerged into a clear space with a beautiful 
blue sky dotted over with cirrus clouds above. When at 
the height of nearly 12,000 feet, with the temperature of 
38**, or 80° less than on the ground and dew-point 26'*, 
Mr. Goxwell discharged gas, and we descended to a little 
above 8,000 feet at Ih. 48m., a very gradual ascent then 
took place till 2h. 80m., when a height of 24,000 feet was 
obtained, and here a consultation took place as to the 
prudence of discharging more ballast or retaining it, so as 
to insure a safe descent, ultimately it was determined not 
to go higher, as some clouds, whose thickness we could 
not tell, would have to be passed through. The descent 
began soon after, and we reached the earth a little after 
three o'clock at Solihull, about seven miles from 
Birmingham." 



9 



» 



MY lAFE ASD 



CHAPTER VII. 



^ 



MB. GLAISHER S ACCOUNT ( 



' THE HIGHEai ABCEKT. 

Septemher 5, 1862. 



" t!jpHIS ascent bad been delayed owing to tbo unfavoar- 
l\ able state of tlie weather. We left the earth at 
lb, 3m. p.m. ; the temperature of the air was 59* 
and that of the dew point 50°. The air at first was misty 
at the height of 5,000 feet the temperature was 41°, dew" 
point 37". 9. At Ih, 13m. we entered a dense clond of about 
1,000 feet in thickness, where the temperature fell to 36°.5j 
the dew-point being the same, thus indicating that the 
here was saturated with moisture. At this elevation thai 
■ report of a gun was heard. Momentarily the clouds became 
lighter, and on emerging from them at Ih. 17m. a flood (rf 
strong sunlight burst upon us with a beautiful blue 8^ 
without a clond, and benea,th us lay a magnificent sea Ol 
clouds, its surface varied with endless bills, hillocks, and 
mountain chains, and with many suow-wbite tufts risinfj 
from it. I bore attempted to take a view with the camera, 
but we were rising with too great rapidity and revolving to<l 
quickly to enable me to succeed. The brightness of tbi 
clouds, however, was so great that I should have needett 
but a momentary exposure. Dr. Hill Norris having kindljr 



BALLOON EXPEBIENGES. 181 

ftimished me with extremely sensitive dry plates for the 
pnrpose. We reached the height of two miles at Ih. 22m., 
'Where the sky was of a darker blue, and whence the earth 
Was visible in occasional patches beneath the clouds. The 
temperature had fallen to the freezing-point and the dew- 
point to 26''. 

„ The height of three miles was attained at Ih. 28m., 
with a temperature of 18°, and dew-point 13° ; from Ih. 
22m. to Ih. SOm. the wet-bulb thermometer read in- 
correctly, the ice not being properly formed on it. At 
lh.34m. Mr. Coxwellwas panting for breath; at Ih. 38m. 
the mercury of Daniell's hygrometer fell below the limits 
of the scale. We reached the elevation of four miles at 
Ih. 40m. ; the temperature was 8°, the dew-point minus 
15°, or 47° below the freezing-point of water. Discharging 
sand, we attained in ten minutes the altitude of five miles, 
and the temperature had passed below zero, and then read 
minus 2°. At this point no dew was observed on 
Eegnault's hygrometer when cooled down to minus 30°. 
Up to this time I had taken observations with comfort, and 
experienced no difficulty in breathing ; whilst Mr. Coxwell, 
in consequence of the exertions he had to make, had 
breathed with difficulty for some time. Having discharged 
sand, we ascended still higher ; the aspirator became 
troublesome to work, and I also found a difficulty in seeing 
clearly. At Ih. 51m. the barometer read 10*8in. About 
Ih. 52m. or later, I read the dry-bulb thermometer as 
minus 5**; after this I could not see the column of 
mercury in the wet-bulb thermometer, nor the hands of 
the watch, nor the fine divisions on any instrument. I 



I 



I 
I 



132 MY LIFE AND 

asked Mr. Coxwell to help me to read the instriimentB. 
In eonseqaence, however, of the rotatory motion of tha 
halloon, which bad continaed without ceasing since leaving 
the earth, the valve-hne had become entangled, and he had 
to leave the car and moant into the ring to readjust it. 
I then looked at the barometer, and found its reading to 
he 9fin,, still decreasing fast, implying a height exceeding 
29,000 feet. Shortly after I laid my arm upon the table, 
possessed of its full vigour, but on being desirous of using 
it I found it powerless — it must have lost its power 
momentarily ; trying to move the other arm, I found it 
powerless also. Then I tried to shake myself, and suc- 
ceeded, but I seemed to have no limbs. In looking at the 
barometer my head fell over my left shoulder ; I struggled 
and shook ray body again, but could uot move my arms. 
Getting my head upright for an instant only, it fell on my 
right shoulder ; then I fell backwards, my back resting 
against the side of the car and my head on its edge. In 
thia position my eyes were directed to Mr. Coxwell in the 
ring. When I shook my body I seemed to have full 
power over the muscles of the back, and considerably so 
over thoae of the neck, hut none over either my arms op 
my legs. As in the case of the arms, so all muscular 
power was lost in an instant from my back and neck. I 
dimly saw Mr. Coxwell, and endeavoured to speak, but 
could not. In an instant intense darkness overcame me, 
so that the optic nerve suddenly lost power, but I was still 
conscious, with as active a brain as at the present moment 
whilst writing this. I thought I had been seized with 
asphyxia, and beUeved I should experience nothing more. 



4 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 133 

as death would come unless we speedily descended. Other 
thoughts were entering my mind, when I suddenly became 
unconscious as on going to sleep. I cannot tell anything 
of the sense of hearing, as no sound reaches the ear to 
break the perfect stillness find silence of the regions 
between six and seven miles from the earth. My last 
observation was made at Ih. 54m. above 29,000 feet. I 
suppose two or three minutes to have elapsed between my 
eyes becoming insensible to seeing fine divisions and 
Ih. 54m., and then two or three minutes more to have 
passed till I was insensible, which, I think therefore, took 
place about Ih. 56m. or 57m. 

" Whilst powerless, I heard the words * temperature ' 
and ' obseiTation,' and I knew Mr. Coxwell was in the car, 
speaking to and endeavouring to rouse me, therefore, 
consciousness and hearing had returned. I then heard him 
speak more emphatically, but could not see, speak, or move. 
I heard him again say, *do try, now do.' Then the instru- 
ments became dimly visible, then Mr. Coxwell, and very 
shortly I saw clearly. Next I rose in my seat and looked 
around as though waking from sleep, though not refreshed, 
and said to Mr. Coxwell, * I have been insensible,' he said, 
* you have, and I too, very nearly." I then drew up my 
legs, which had been extended, and took a pencil in my 
hand to begin observations. Mr. Coxwell told me that he 
had lost the use of his hands, which were black, and I 
poured brandy over them. 

" I resumed my observations at 2h. 7m., recording the 
barometer reading at 11.35 inches, and temperature minus 
2°. It is probable that three or four minutes passed from j 



I 



134 MY LIFE AND 

the time of my hcotuig the words ' temperature ' and 
' observation,' till I began to observe ; if so, returning 
consciousness came at 2h. 4m. p.m., and tliis gives seven 
minutes for total insensibility. I found tbc water in tba 
vessel supplying tbo wet-bulb thermometer one solid mass 
of ice, though I had, by frequent diBtm-bance, kept it from 
freezing. It did not all melt until we had been on the 
ground some time. Mr. CoxweU told me that while in 
the ring, he felt it piercingly cold, that boar-frost was all 
round the neck of the baUoon, and that on attempting to 
leave the ring, he found his Lands itozen. He had, there- 
fore, to place his arms on the ring, and drop down. 'SMien 
be saw me he thought for a, moment that I had lain back 
to rest myself, and be spoke to me without eliciting a reply, i 
he then noticed that my legs projected and my arms hang 
down by my side, and saw tliat my countenance was serene 
and placid, without the earnestness and anxiety be bad 
observed before going into the ring ; then it struck him 
that I was insensible. He wished to approach me, but 
could not ; and when be felt insensibility coming over 1»ivi 
too, he became anxious to open the valve. But in conse- 
quence of having lost the uae of bis hands he could not do 
this ; ultimately he succeeded by seizing the cord with his 
teeth, and dipping bis head two or three times, until the 
balloon took a decided turn downwai-ds. 

" No inconvenience followed my insensibility, and when 
we dropped, it was in a country where no conveyance of 
any kind could be obtained, so we had to walk between 
seven and eight miles. 

" During the descent, which was at first veiy rapid, the 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 135 

wind was easterly. To check the rapidity of the descent, 
sand was thrown out at 2h. 30m. The wet-bulb seemed to 
be free from ice at this time, but I held the bulb between 
my thumb and finger, for the purpose of melting any ice 
remaining on it or the connecting thread, the readings after 
this appeared correct. The final descent took place in the 
centre of a large grass-field belonging to Mr. Kersall, at 
Cold Weston, seven and a half miles from Ludlow. 

" I have already said that my last observation was made 
at a height of 29,000 feet, at this time (Ih. 54m.) we were 
ascending at the rate of 1,000 feet per minute, and when I 
resumed observations we were descending at the rate of 
2,000 feet per minute. These two positions must be con- 
nected, taking into account the interval of time between, 
viz. thirteen minutes. And on these considerations, the 
balloon must have attained the altitude of 36,000 or 37,000 
feet. Again, a very delicate minimum thermometer read 
minus 11.9', and this would give a height of 37,000. Mr. 
Coxwell, on coming from the ring, noticed that the centre 
of the aneroid barometer, its blue hand, and a rope attached 
to the car, were all in the same straight line, and this gave 
a reading of seven inches, and leads to the same result. 
Therefore, these independent means all lead to about the 
same elevation, viz., fully seven miles. 

In this ascent six pigeons were taken up. One was 
thrown out at the height of three miles, when it extended 
its wings and dropped like a piece of paper ; the second, at 
four miles, flew vigorously round and round, apparently 
taking a dip each time ; a third was thrown out between 
four and five miles, and it fell downwards as a stone. A 



18t) MT LIFE AND 

fourth was thrown at four miles on (leBcending ; it flew in a 
circle, aud shortly alighted on the top of the ballooD. The 
two remaining pigeons were brought down to the gronnd. 
One was found to be dead, and the other, a carrier, was still 
living, but would not leave the hand when I attempted to 
throw it ofl', till, after a quarter of an hour, it began to peck 
at a, piece of ribbon with which its neck was encircled ; it 
was then jerked off the finger, and shortly afterwards fiew 
with some. vigour towards Wolverhampton. One of the 
pigeons returned to Wolverhampton on Sunday the 7th, 
and it was the only one I ever heard of. 

" In this ascent, on passing out of the clouds there was 
an increase of 9", and then there was no interruption in tha 
decrease of temperature till the height of 15,000 feet waa 
-reached, when a warm current of air was entered, which 
continued to 24,000, after which the regular decrease 
of temperature continued to the highest point reached. 
On descending, the same current was again met with, 
between 22,000 and 23,000 feet. A similar inteiTuption, 
but to a greater amount, was experienced till the balloon 
had descended to about the same height at which it was 
reached on ascending ; after this no further break occurred 
in the regular increase of temperature, the sky being 
clear till the descent was completed. From the general 
agreement of the results as observed by Eegnault's 
hygrometer, and those of the dew-points found by the 
dry and wet-bulb thei-mometers, there can be no 
doubt that the temperature of the dew-point at heights 
exceeding 80,000 feet, must have been as low as minns 
50° below zero of Fahrenheit's scale, or 82° below the 





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BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 137 

freezing-point of water, implying that the air was very 
dry." 

MY OWN RECOLLECTIONS OF IT. 

After a retrospect of our highest ascent, I came to the 
conclusion, and this has not been materially modified by 
more recent thoughts, that the line of action which, at 
the time I considered desirable to pursue, was the best 
adapted to ensure success. 

When first gas was passed into the balloon, on the 
morning of September 5th, it was not long before I 
perceived that the plan which Mr. Proud and I had 
agreed on for the production of a very light gas answered 
admirably, and, indeed, that a much superior description 
had been generated and stored than had been originally 
promised. 

Aeronauts, that is attentive, observing, aeronauts, even 
if they have been made acquainted with the specific gravity 
of the gas before commencing to use it, are enabled to 
form their own opinions as to its lightness, by noticing 
the way in which the valve is raised from the ground 
after a few thousand feet have passed into the crown 
of the balloon. And it was not long before I perceived 
a great difference in this respect alone, when we came 
to draw comparisons between the previous inflations 
at Wolverhampton. 

I remember complimenting the accomplished engineer, 
and then exchanging congratulations with Mr. Glaisher as 
to the splendid gas with which we had that day been 
supplied. As I went round and round the balloon and 
loosened the fastenings, I pointed out the unusual tugging 



f 



ft 



188 MT LIFE AND 

of the net work on the large sand bage^and this "was a 
sure indication of great additional power — I mean at bo 
early an hour after commencing. It was then noticed how 
pleased I appeared to be with the prospect of being able 
to accomplish a much higher ascent that on either of the 
two former trips, and here I may observe that the lesaon 
of the first trial was this, viz., that the work had to 
be done expeditiously, for in going from WolYerhampton 
when the wind was towards the east, the enormous curve 
of an altitude of live or sis miles compelled ua to go np 
and come down with micommon rapidity, in order to 
avoid our being carried too near the coast to he either safe 
or pleasant. 

On the first occasion we drifted towards the "Wash, and 
in descending we had to pass through large masses of 
cloud, one being 8000 feet thick. 

Another lesson, taught by the second joomey to 
Solihull, was that the balloon was tighter than at the 
first trial, as we retained and brought down a very 
large amount of ballast. These two points ascertained, 
I felt that with still lighter gas I could venture to 
take Mr. Glaieher up to a much higher elevation, 
and as no symptons of fainting had been felt previously, 
I concluded that we might risk a more spirited rise, 
for it would never do to come down in a mountainous 
district during thick mists or the instruments might be 
broken by sudden contact with a hill top. 

On September 5th our course was towards the west 
coast, so that we went in a diametrically opposite direction 
to that taken on July 17th. Had the wind been noiih or 




BALLOON EXPEBIENGES. 139 

south there woidd have been a much longer run for us. 
I mention this to account for the necessarily rapid rise on 
September 5th, which may have helped to increase the 
frequent spinning of the balloon and to add to a 
susceptibility to giddiness though this would not be so 
much felt high up owing to the total absence of all visible 
objects. It is just possible, however, though I am not 
at all sure about it, that a sudden transition to colder and 
lighter air might have increased the tendency to asphyxia, 
but on the other hand had we crept aloft and drifted away 
to the coast much faster than we did, a much greater 
danger would have been encountered,^ so that all things 
considered we could not have proceeded in a better way 
than that we actually took. 

Situated as we were, the balloon was not so very 
dissimilar to a ship which is about to be launched, say for 
example on the Clyde, or from a building yard at 
Blackw^all, where the creek or river is of narrow 
dimensions, and where special precautions have to be 
observed in stopping the vessel almost suddenly when 
she has cleared the ways, for fear she grounds on the 
opposite shore. 

In these very high ascents there is much that should 
be thought over before-hand. Mere dash and daring — 
so much admired in a certain class of balloonists — might 
prove to be a dangerous element in this particular kind 
of ballooning. Had I not well thought out all the 
different positions in which we were likely to be placed, 
I could not have been equal to the requirements of each 
case as it presented itself. 

I 



I 



I 



140 MS LITE AND 

A balloon in rising to the height of 'six or seven miles 
after being only two-thirds inflated, undergoes a variety 
of changes, both as to brea,dth, length, and general shape 
hefore it attains its highest point, and when the descent 
takes place they are vastly increased. The volume of gas 
which has filled the balloon at the masimnm elevation 
does not occupy more than the top part on reaching the 
earth after her downward progress ; therefore a mass of 
elongated loose cloth is flapping about, which if not 
narrowly watched may close upon the other side of the 
balloon and so tightly embrace the valve-cord as to open 
the shutters without, perhaps, the aeronaut being aware 
of it. Certainly in my own case I had fixed additional 
strong springs to the valve, still I fonnd that when a quick 
fall was imperative, a number of novel and awkward 
positions had to be seen to, or we might have been 
confronted with difficulties of an aggravated character, 
and there is no room for doubt that high ascents require 
very special kind of treatment. The ordinary perils 
of this mode of travelling are here multiplied ten-fold, 
and if anything goea wroag when the machine is far 
distant from the earth, the chances of preserving lifg 
are few indeed, as a rupture of the cloth may extend 
from top to bottom or the entire gas may escape before the 
ground is reached, in which case death would be the penalty. 

Though watchful as to all these diversified situations, I 
could not reveal or allude to them when Mr. Glaisber waB 
intent on his observations, and when so large a share of confi- 
dence had been placed in my management that ho sat, to use 
his own metaphor, as if he were at the Royal Observatory. 



BALLOON EXPEBIENOES. 141 

As regards myself, however, with the knowledge that 
they might at any moment present themselves, I had to 
be ever watchful and cautious, and at the same time ready 
for a bold effort if need be. 

In Mr. Glaisher's graphic account, he alludes to the 
continued rotation of the balloon and the necessity for 
my mounting into the ring to get possession of the valve- 
line. I may here explain that the ropes which attach the 
car to the hoop had been made much longer than usual, 
so as to give extra length to that portion of the aerial 
apparatus ; this increased the distance which I was 
suddenly compelled to climb, as the line had been carefully 
placed in a sort of pocket on the hoop, and there was an 
additional length added on, so as to admit of several 
small coils that would pay out if the slightest strain on 
them was exerted. The lower safety valve or opening at 
the neck had been enlarged with the idea of avoiding the 
use as much as possible of the large upper valve, and when 
Mr. Glaisher's troubles commenced, I was absorbed in 
my own duties which prevented me from noticing my 
colleague's uneasiness. I thought that his eyes were 
dazed by the constant use of a lens and did not perceive 
that insensibility was approaching. The premonitory 
symptoms were not thought to be anything more than 
a desire for a few moments' quiet, and when I really 
began to apprehend that something was amiss, I 
looked up far above the balloon for Supreme help, and 
then found myself springing aloft to do what at this 
critical juncture seemed necessary. 

I had previously taken off a thick pair of gloves so as to 



I 



142 My LIFE AHD 

be the better able to manipnlate the sand bags, and the 
moment my nnprotocted hands rested on the ring, which 
retained the temperature of the air, I found that they were 
froBt-bitten, but I did manaige to bring down with me the 
Talve line, aft^r noticing the hand of the aneroid barometer, 
and it was not long before I aoceeeded in opening the 
shutters in the way described by Mr, Glaisher. 

After making this effort, I entreated mj pale but placid 
looking companion to try an obseryation, but all was silent, 
so that in this position I felt an amount of anguish which 
can be better imagined than described. 

Again, on letting off mora gas I perceived that the lower 
part of the balloon was rapidly shriuldng, and I heard a 
sighing as it were in the network and the ruffled surface of 
the cloth. I then looked round, although it seemed 
advisable to let off more gas, to see if I could in any way 
assist Mr. Glaisher, but the table of instruments blocked 
the way, and I could not with disabled hands pass beneal^, 
my last hope then was in seeking the restorative effects of 
a warmer stratum of atmosphere. Again I tugged at the 
valve Hne, taking stock meanwhile of the reserve ballast in 
store, and this happily was ample. 

Never shall I forget those painful moments of doabt 
and suspense as to Mr. Gladsher's state when no response 
came to my questions ; I began to fear that he would never 
take any more readings. I could feel the reviving effects 
of a warmer temperature, and wondered that no signs of 
animation were noticeable ; the hand of the aneroid that I 
had looked at was fast moving, while the under part of the 
balloon had risen high above the car. I had looked 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES^ 148 

towards the earth and felt the rush of air as it passed 

upwards, but was still in despair when Mr. Glaisher gasped 

T^ith a sigh, and the next moment he drew himself up and 

looked at me rather in confusion, and said he had been 

insensible, but did not seem to have any clear idea for 

how long, until he caught up his pencil and noted the 

time and the reading of the instruments. When after 

disguising any emotional feeling, I told him of my own 

inconvenience, he rubbed my hands with brandy. I was 

80 much transported with delight at his recovery that I 

availed myself of his services to help me in discharging 

sand, for we had dipped 19,000 feet in a quarter-of-an- 

hour, and were still falling fast, which required checking ; 

as the crisis had Providentially passed, it was better to sail 

along at our then level, or we might expend too much sand 

if we allowed the balloon to drop another mile or two at the 

speed we had been going down. When the balloon was 

brought to her equilibrium there was a mutual explanation, 

but Mr. Glaisher kept on dotting down his observations, 

and we did not discuss the dangers we had surmounted. 

How sweet and life-giving was the delicious atmosphere 
as we came near the ground ! We were like convalescents 
taking in copious draughts of sea air after leaving a 
pestilential city. 

Glad enough was I to perceive the customary freshness 
return to Mr. Glaisher's face. The act of casting about 
for a suitable landing-place afforded I thought an opportune 
diversion, and glad I was that we had cast aside our 
previous anxieties, the pleasing excitement and purer air 
having acted as the best restoratives. 



I m MY LIFE AND 



H Wa fomtd ourselves, us already narrated, at Cold 
■ "Weston, bnt we had to walk for seven or eight miles before 
a railway station was reached, and as no train vras de- 
parting for some time we sought an hotel, and asked for a 
substantial dinner, bnt to omr disappointment, for we were 
hungry, nothing but chops were to be had ; we did not 
appear to be alone in this state of suppressed appetite, 
however, as another gentleman was in the room awaiting 
refreshment, and it seemed that he had long given his 
order. The waiter Hrrived first with his dish, but on 
removing the cover it was seen to contain delicious -looking 
fish. " Confound that waiter," I muttered, after he had 
left the room, bnt I had him when he returned with the 
potatoes and the sauce. 

" Look here, waiter, have yon no fish for ua ? " 
" No, Sir, no, that gentleman is an angler, aud provided 
his own dinner." 

But if I am not mistaken, we did get a taste after Mr. 
Glaisher had been to telegraph our whereabouts. It had 
incidently been disclosed whence we had come. After that 

»we might have bad, I verily believe, all the fish that the 
astonished angler had taken. We lost no time in attending 
to trifles, but got on our way rejoicing as far as we were 
able, and early next momicg Mr. Glaisher's report waa 
written before and during breakfast, and duly appeared in 
the newspapers. 

THE HIGHEST ASCENT ON RBCOKD, LEADINa ARTICLE 
FROM " THE TIMES " OP SEPTEMBER IItH, 1862. 

" Poetry has described some famous descents, and the 
8 descejtsus Avemi comes back with a familiar school 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 145 

twang to us. These dips into the subterranean world do 
not, indeed, belong to the region of historical truth, nor 
do they even profess to have been made for scientific 
purposes ; yet, perhaps, they symbolise a certain spirit of 
discovery appropriate to those ages. The two chief 
adventurers into those parts, the two epic heroes, were 
great travellers, — the explorers of their day. Science has 
just now, however, surpassed all the fancy of poets. We 
have just had an ascent such as the world has never heard 
of or dreamed of. Two men have been nearer by some 
miles to the moon and stars than all the race of men 
before them. It is true they do not bring back a very 
glowing account of their approach to the region of the 
empyrean, yet their voyage upwards is not without poetical 
features. On reaching the clouds they find themselves 
among strange phenomena. They cut through a dense 
mass of moisture 2,000 feet in thickness, after which the 
scene changes, they are received out of the thick fog into 
the clear blue vault of a liquid sky, and see the landscape 
of clouds beneath them. 

" Mr. Glaisher attempts a photograph of the beautiful 
scene, but the rapidity of the flight defeats the process, 
and as the car mounts upwards the paper refuses to receive 
the constantly vanishing impression from below. They 
now reach a fearful altitude, where pigeons, the unhappy 
victims of all experiments, cannot fly, and where, at last, 
the rarity of the air is too great for the physical structure 
of man, and one of the explorers faints and becomes 
unconscious. Yet such is the determination of men when 
they are in the act of experimentalizing, and at the very 

10 



I 



146 MY UFE AND 

climax of their feat, that they will not spoil it by a check 
80 long as progress is possible ; on they will go, and grudge 
forestalling their vertex by a, foot, for every foot is ao much 
gain and ao much triumph. 

"For ten whole minutes, Mr. Coxwell ascended alone, 
OP rather worse than alonej with his companion insensihle 
before bis eyes, in a region seven miles distant from the 
earth. That is a very extraordinary ten minutes if we 
think of it, that Rolitary command without a rival, of the 
boundless regions of space, when, for once, to be " alone 
in the world " was not a metaphor, and one head was 
working in the infinite void. It deserves to take its place 
among the unparalleled junctures and the critical and 
striking moments of war, politics, or discovery. But the 
feat wtts almost too audacious, and was OEirned on to the 
very verge of fate. Mr. Coxwell was only juat in time to 
take the atep which was necessary for a return to the lower 
world ; another minute and be would have been stretched 
by the side of his companion, and a car, containing two 
human bodies, would have been mounting to worlds 
unknown, and encountering- aerial storms and shipwrecks 
Bo removed from all our sublunary experience that we can 
hardly form the faintest image of the reaHty. We know 
enough of the geography of the heavens to know that it 
would not have been even dashed upon the bleak shore of 
a planet, or found a resting place upon some Ararat in the 
moon. But Mr. Coxwell' s mouth performed the task 
which his paralysed hands were unequal to, and the release 
of the gas procured a descent, and gave a safe terminatioa 
to the most audacious aerial feat ever performed. 



BALLODN EXPEBIENGES. 147 

"The courage of men of science deserves to have a 
chapter of history devoted to it. It has been observed that 
courage is a very capricious and inconsistant virtue> and we 
all of us know the old anecdote of the gallant veteran of a 
hundred battles who durst not snuflf out a candle with his 
fingers. Courage is a thing of habit, and sometimes it 
fSedls altogether immediately it is out of the field of its 
habit. Your bold rider is one who has begun young and 
becomes a sort of Centaur, only with the convenience of 
dropping ofif the animal part of his figure when he chooses; 
Ms whole body, with its muscles and sinews, has accom- 
modated itself to the back of a horse, and acquired an 
intuitive and unconscious balance. But take him o£f his 
horse and, unless he has the principle of courage within 
him, he is an ordinary mortal, and no more likes breaking 
his neck than a quiet humdrum citizen. 

" A soldier is accustomed to courage in company with 
gallant fellows around him, but that makes an immense 
difference. Company is both inspiring and relieving, it 
divests courage of its horrors and gloom, it is therefore 
much easier to be bold in company. But send your 
bristling warrior a nocturnal walk along a lane, and he sees 
ghosts peeping from behind haystacks, and hears super- 
natural voices in ever gust of air. The feats of a man of 
science give you a better guarantee for real courage, because 
they are solitary, deliberate, calm, and passive. It is true 
he has his enthusiasm which helps him, and he has his 
field of courage to which he has accustomed himself. But 
every new adventure, every fresh essay upon this field is a 
solitary effort and impulse to him. He has to fight alone 



148 MT LIFE AND 



r 

^M and by lumself against the f&intnesB of nature, without 
^B men shoiitiog or flags flying, or trampets clanging around 
^H Mm. He faces the invisible forces of nature, the gas that 
^B explodes or the poison that penetrates, with the counte- 
^ nance of a student and philosopher, and is at the dis- 
advantage of having to be fully conscious and self -possessed, 
instead of having the aid of the swing and impetus of 

I passion. The cool feats of our scientific men are known to 
nH all — such as that of Sir Humphry Davy inhaling a 
particular gas, with an accurate report every minate or 
two of its successive effects upon his brain and senses. 
The aerial voyage just performed by Mr. Coxwell and 
Mr. Glaisher deserves to rank with the greatest feats of 
experimentalizers, discoverers, and travellers. It is true 
these gentlemen have not brought down a very comfortable 
or inspiring report of the upper world into which they have 
penetrated. Science and poetry are unhappily rather at 
Tariance upon the subject of the air and sky. 

I" Poetry points upwards to the sky with glowing rapture 
as the scene of brightness and glory, and a residence there 
figures as the reward of heroism and greatness. Everything 
is happy and splendid that is connected with the sky. Bat 
science penetrates with its material eye into these vast 
upper spaces, and simply reports a great difficulty of 
breathing there, that the blood stagnates, the limbs become 
benumbed, the senses evaporate, and nature faints in 
unconsciousness. The very birds will not fly in that sky 
which is their poetical home. The distinction is that 
poetry looks up to the sky from below, and science examines 
and feels it on a level. The sky is the emblem of poetry, 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 



149 



the fact of science. Both aspects of it are equally true, 
but the point of view from which they are taken is quite 
different. But, though our recent explorers of the sky do 
not add to its brilliancy as a picture, they have furnished 
one more striking and impressive scene to the history of 
science. They have shown what enthusiasm science can 
inspire, and what courage it can give. If the man, as the 
poet says, had need of "triple steel about his breast" 
who first launched a boat into the sea, certainly those had 
no less need of it who first floated in the air seven miles 
above the surface of the earth." 



COXWELL AND GLAISHEB : 



A Song by a Schoolboy. From Punch. 



1. 

*♦ 'Tis of the youthful Icaras 

The ancient poet sings, 
For whom his daddy, Doedalus, 

Made certain waxen wings ; 
But, flying up too near the Sun, 

His wings of wax did melt, 
And then he came right down like 

As hard as he could pelt. [fan, 

2. 

** A great deal faster than he rose 

Apace descended he. 
Until he ended all his woes 

Li the iEjgean Sea. 
Now what a lie is that account ! 

About the hour of noon 
Glaisher and Goxwell both did mount 

Six miles in a balloon. 



3. 

'* No mortal man could soar so high, 

Because, at that great height, 
A pigeon they let out to fly. 

Oould not effect its flight. 
Half stifled for the want of breath 

Was Goxwell, Glaisher too ; 
Glaisher was nearly froze to death, 

And Goxwell' s hands turned blue. 

4. 

** Aloft 'tis cold instead of hot ; 

Wax wings would freeze, not run. 
By which a chap as near had got, 

As could be, to the Sun. 
As snow upon a mountain's top 

Might show to eyery fool, 
Bo that slow fable you must drop 

That we are taught at school. 







160 



»riinni4!n> 



• Bol aiiiibar^ flvflk, ■ndCknwiiri 

ItMMiMlliiDgloadBilm; [loo^ 
As hil^ •■ Mi^ tiHr flmr 

ThMH Movi iraot, and lii|^. 
One kipk on iMdinc alliii ^Iftii, 

WUIiIha oonld Me or iliiid ; 
Tho oHmt*! toolh kl out ilM gM, 

IVhiii ooldhid nmiilMd liii hiiiA* 



*« *tif iRM «ial tboM two men did go 
0is atloi towudo tiie i^ ; 

BbI M fiar loMoa, wo know 

ntd ■Iqit's an jay egro. 
TlMn iliaft'f file use to leod about 

<Hdheioeal!ailedaete, 

'IflMtt now <li«9f*ie beaten, out and 
Blfwondeia iliat are fiusta?" [out, 






BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 161 




CHAPTER VIII. 

GOVERNMENT WAR BALLOONS. 

Notwithstanding the way in which my time was 
occupied in the year 1862, I was seldom long silent 
as to my proposals for the adoption of military 
ballooning in this country. I find that in the Army and 
Navy Gazette, as well as The Times, I contributed two 
letters in the first and last month of that year, which I 
shall reproduce with the object of showing who was really 
the leading advocate on this subject long before our present 
military aeronauts were known or appointed. 

I take the following, verbatim, from my scrap-book : — 

" Mr. Coxwell, the well-known aeronaut, makes the 
following observations on this interesting subject in the 
Army and Navy Gazette : — 

" The authorities having given due consideration to this 
subject, as mentioned in your impression of December 28th, 
public opinion is, no doubt, gratified by the intimation, as 
it forms one of many proofs that the modern arts and 
appliances receive at the present time careful attention at 
the War Office, and are properly estimated according to 
their merits. 

"No sooner had warlike preparations commenced in 
England than I made a proposal for the employment of 



MY LIFE AND 

mIIooiib in Canada. Having stood forward so long in this 
ticnlar line of advocacy, I feel enconiaged to find that a 
branch of science which has so long been resorted to for 
amnsement only, should at length be held worthy of a 
^ore dignified and useful application. 

" The adoption of balloons in warfare should not alone 
le confined to reconnoitring, but to destructive purpoaen as 
weU. 

" Dr. Lardner, in a letter to The Timea on March Slst, 
1859, mentions some chemical compounds of a highly- 
wisonous character, which may be used in sheila. 

"If ever ballooning should become recognised in 
military science, it is most probable that aiirial shells, 
raised by balloons, and disunited by means of a fusee, or 
by concussion caps, may be used with as much precision 
as iron shells thrown from mortars. I have no doubt it 
would be possible to drop with tolerable nicety a host of 
aerial shells charged with agents calculated to produce 
stapefaction, if not fatal effects, and if by this means 
prisoners could be made instead of increasing carnage, 
I humanity would rejoice at so ingenious a method. — 
I January llth, 1862." 

I MILITAKY BALLOONS. 

I " To the Editor of The Times. 

I " Sir,- — In the recent battle in America we again hear 

l~of the application of the war balloon. 

I " Scientific reconnoitring from an elevated position has 

I been within the last four years successfully adopted, both 

I in the Old World and the New. 

I " The letters which you have done me the honour to 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 15S 

publish on this subject may one day be referred to as a 
j^oof that constant attention has been called to it by a 
practical man and an Englishman, but that it would have 
no eflfect until some foreigner or imitator came forward 
and carried all before him. 

** About this time last year I proposed to the authorities 
a series of experiments, to show what might be done with 
a balloon in aid of military science. 

"I met with little encouragement, however, although 
for many years I have studied and pointed out the ways in 
which balloons can be employed with advantage. 

"In an aerial voyage from Winchester barracks about 
three months since I ascertained the opinions of a party of 
oflBcers during our transit near Aldershot Camp, and every 
one agreed that the utility of balloons for the use proposed 
would be immense, and that the idea only required proper 
introduction to be weU received. 

"Perhaps, Sir, with your valuable aid, the time may 
arrive when this passing allusion may lead to beneficial 
results. 

'* I remain, etc., Henry Coxwell, 

'' December 29fA, 1862." 

the WINCHESTER ASCENT. 
SEVENTY MILES IN SIXTY-SIX MINUTES. 

"To the Editor of The Times. 

" Sir, — ^A most successful aerial journey has this day 
been accomplished from Winchester to Harrow, travelling 
at the rate of a mile and more a minute. 

** Colonel McDonald and six officers of the Rifle Depot 



, 154 



MY UFE AND 



r 

^H Buttalion accompanied Mr. Goxwell in bis mammoth 
^V balloon 

' " Before the ascent could be performed groat anxiety 

had been felt by all concerned tbe distance from the 
gasometer bem^ half a mile, and the last hundred yards of 
piping having to be laid above ground through the passageB 
to the mnei quadrangle As the pipe was onh four mehes 
m di 111 f I tbt hiling had to comm nt it nine t (.lock 




THE ASCENT FBOM WINCHESTER. 

on Monday morning. The weather was tempestuous, and 
strong equinoctial gales blowing from the south-weat, 
bringing heavy clouds with rain almost precluded any hope 
of our voyage being either pleasant or safe. Owing to the 
zeal of Mr. Tinney, the gas manager, who spared no labour' 
in providing the 90,000 cubic feet of gas — no ordinary 
task — and also to Mr. Coxwell's knowledge of the cbange-i 



BALLOON EXPEBIENCES. 155 

ableness of the weather, the enterprise was not abandoned. 
All the arrangements, made with calculation and fore- 
thought by Colonel McDonald, were successfully completed, 
every preparation for the convenience of visitors waa 
arranged, and the ancient palace of Charles 11. assumed 
the appearance of a Boman amphitheatre. 

'* Owing to frequent squalls, it was undecided at three 
o'clock whether the ascent should be made this day or 
postponed. A large crowd was, as usual, clamorous and 
foolishly careless of any risk, but it would have had no 
effect in inducing Mr. Coxwell *to prqceed,' had not the 
sun come out and the heavy clouds dispersed. Then he 
decided, and the soldiers, obeying his signals with military 
exactness, drew the balloon to the windward side of the 
square, and at five minutes past four the rope was let go, 
when We instantly rose in a majestic manner, clearing the 
corner we had so much feared* by 150 feet, and going 
eventually to the height of two miles. By passing over 
the Grange (Lord Ashburton's) eight minutes later we 
perceived that we were going at the rate of a mile a 
minute. The white and broken clouds were on this 
occasion between three and four miles from the earth. 

** Our direction was E.N.E. We passed AJdershot 
Camp two miles to the S.E., Virginia Water a mile to the 
N.W., and with great pleasure recognized the friendly 
shelter of Harrow Hill for a descent. This, however, we 
passed by a mile, and landed in a grass field belonging ta 
Mr. Henry Hill. Here in the gentlest manner possible, 
the strong wind having suddenly dropped, the grappling 
iron anchored us in the centre of the field, and, thanks to 



156 UT LFFB iSD 

Mr. CoKwell's jndgment, withoat the slightest concasaion. 
With the hearty good will of the villagers, and the obliging 
sssistance of Mr. HiU, we packed np and. carried the 
balloon to the railway Etation. It vas 5.15 when ve 
descended, and the distance travelled in one hour and ten 
minutes exceeded seventy miles. 

" Obediently yours, C. F. T. 

" London, October litb, 
" N.B. — The party consisted of Colonel McDonald, 
Major Newdigate, C. Kanaabottom, W, M. Bnrrell, C. 
Fairfield, Hatton Turner of the Prince Consort's own 
Eifle Brigade, and J. S. Algar of the 60th Rifles." 



I 



MACDONALD S AGCOrST. 

" Mr. Coxwell having stated to me that our flight in hia 
baUoon from Winchester to Harrow was one of the most 
interesting which has been made, I am disposed to oSier 
a few additional observations to those of your previous 
correspondent. 

"He made a slight mifitake in the time in which the 
jonmey was performed, the distance being got over in 
hour and six minutes — four minutes less than he computed.' 

" It being neceBsary to move upwards with great velocity 
an additional interest attached to the ascent. The moment 
the rope was loosed by our guide, we felt first a gentle 
movement, then a bound into space, almost a realisation of 
the translation of good men of old- It is hardly possible 
to describe how this movement outstripped thought. A 
fleeting vision passed the noinds of friends near becoming 

Btantly distant, amid the waving of handierchiefs, the 



BALLOON EXPEBIENOES. 157 

strains of music, and the cheers of the crowd; we were 
high in air, however, before we could return these 
salutations. 

" At this period of our velocity we were moving probably 
at the rate of much more than a mile a minute, as our 
course described a parabolic curve, the balloon being 
moved by two forces — upwards by the dense masses of the 
lower air, and northwards by the wind. This pace 
gradually lessened till we reached our extreme altitude, 
upwards of two miles, when we took the more moderate 
rate of about seventy miles an hour, and travelled at the 
same elevation, after which we descended in a parabola of 
less inflection upon Staines ; this descent was of great 
velocity, although the only effect felt by the aeronauts was 
the rotation of the balloon slowly. This was rapidly 
checked by the delivery of sand, when for some time we 
preserved an altitude of about 900 feet; subsequently it 
became necessary to ascend to 1000 feet to clear Harrow 
Hill with the grapnel, which now hung 100 feet below us, 
and was a scale by which we could estimate height, and 
our altitude was now gradually lessened until the descent 
was accomplished. 

" It was interesting to note the difference of the aerial 
currents. UntU we passed over Staines, rippled waters 
were observable, and we anticipated a rough descent ; near 
there, however, some smoke was seen to blow towards the 
west although our direction was previously more northerly, 
this indicated a different current of wind. After our 
descent upon Staines, we noticed our pace was diminished, 
and that we were probably moving at the rate of about 



I 



MY LIFE AND 

thirty-five miles an honr, which p&ce appeared muform 
QDtil half- a- minute before tonching grotmd, onder the 
shelter of the hill. 

London was to be seen, a great bank of fog with 
buildings in its ontskirts which we left on oar right. 
I onght not to forget to mention a very brilliant effect 
produced by the sun strikin g on a dond over the Isle of 
Wight. The cloud shone with an intensity equal to 
electric light. Nor should I forget our passage over the 
femiliar scene of much military pomp in which we had 
figured — the great dnst plain and hideous huts of 
Aldershot. There a solitary bugle call was detected by 
the sharp ears of Mr. Coxwell, who pointed out the vala« 
€^ balloons in military reconnaissance. 

" At the height of two miles, any mantBnyres upon the 
dust plain could have been easily seen. Even troops 
secreted behind the reservoir, or in the hollows of Csesaj-'a 
Camp, would have been unable to hide from the searching 
<iye of the aerostatic observer." 

A STEP IN THE BIGHT DIRECTION. 

There can be no two opinions that although this 
*emarkable journey was of a non-official character, still 
the utterances of Colonel MacDonald must have entitled 
his remarks to great weight, considering his services in the 
Crimea and elsewhere. The Colonel being accompanied 
too by brother officers who supported bira in his outspoken 
conviction as to the value of the balloon for military 
objects, this experience helped vastly to fm-ther my oft 
repeated suggestions, and it will be seen that it was not 
iry long before I was called upon in conjunction with 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 159 

Captain F, Beaumont, and Lieutenant Groyer, to make 
the first military ascents from Aldershot Camp and 
Woolwich Arsenal. 

THE BRITISH ASSOCIATION AT CAMBRIDGE. 

The London Review, in alluding in humorous terms to 
this meeting on October 11th, 1862, stated that it was 
remarkably deficient in lions. '* The lady associates had 
few or no celebrities to gaze upon, and were forced to 
content themselves with people who have been seen every- 
where for years — good steady folk, who wear well, like 
Mrs. Primrose's wedding gown, or with a few specimens of 
the miserable class of men who v)ere lions a season or two 
hack, and are now passed by. 

**M. du Chaillu attended the geographical section, and M. 
Simonides exhibited some recently discovered manuscripts. 

** The nearest approach to the genuine lion was, perhaps, 
Mr. Glaisher, whose narrative of his balloon ascents 
attracted a crowd to the Hall of Sidney, Sussex College, 
and secured for him and the intrepid Coxwell (led forward 
by Colonel Sykes) immense applause." 

The Cambridge University Journal gave a three-column 
report of the lecture. " In section A," it said, '* Mr. Glaisher 
read an intensely interesting paper upon eight balloon 
ascents (for scientific purposes) which he made in company 
with Mr. Coxwell this summer." But the opening remarks 
are all that I shall refer to, as much of the meteorological 
parts have been previously introduced. The following 
extracts are, however, fresh. 

** All philosophical enquiries carried on or near the 
sorfEUse of the earth are of necessity fully within its 



160 MY LIFE 4ND 

inflnence, and consequently within the inflaence of many 
disturbing cauaes. By no other means than the use of the 
balloon can we free ourselvea from these distnrbing 
influences. Let us consider what sciences must be thereby 
benefited, chemistry probably, magnetism certainly, and 
meteorology and astronomy. When we regard the 
inflnenee which a clear sky or a cloudy one exercises upon 
the temperatare, and so upon our comfort and well-being 
generally, we see the importance of cultivating an 
acquaintance with the higher regions and increasing our 
knowledge of aerial phenomena. 

" Three of the ascents were made from Wolverhampton, 
four from the Crystal Palace, Sydenham, and one from. 
Mill Hill, near Hendon, where the balloon had fallen the 
night previously, and where Mr. CosweU wished to keep 
it, 30 that we could witness Sunrise the nest morning, and 
then go to a greater height than on the previous evening. 

"By half-past four next morning we again left the 
earth on August 2l9t, and there were in the car beaidea 
Mr. Coxwell and myself. Captain Percival and my aons. 
At 4.57 we were in a cloud surrounded by white mist. 
The light rapidly increased, and gradually we emerged 
from the dense cloud to a basin surrounded by imnienae 
black mountains of cloud far above us, and shortly 
afterwards we were looking into deep ravines of grand 
proportions, bounded by beautiful curved lines. By 5.31 
WG were somewhat less than three miles high, at which 
elevation we continued about half-an-hour. We gently 
leached the ground at Dunton Lodge, near Biggleswade. 

" The principle conclusions adduced from these obser- 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 161 

yations are that the temperature of the air does not 
decrease uniformly with the height above the earth's 
sur&ce, and that consequently more elucidation upon this 
point is required, particularly in its influence on the law 
of refraction ; that an aneroid barometer can be made to 
read correctly certainly to the first place, and probably 
to the second place of decimals to a pressure as low as 
five inches; that the humidity of the atmosphere does 
decrease with the height with a wonderful increasing 
ratio, till at heights exceeding five miles the amount of 
aqueous vapour in the atmosphere is very small indeed ; 
that we now can answer the question that observations 
can be made as completely in the balloon as on the 
earth ; that at heights exceeding four miles they cannot 
be made quite so well, because of the personal distress 
of the observer ; that at five miles high it requires the 
exercise of a strong will to make them at all, that no 
one who has heart disease or pulmonary complaints should 
attempt four miles high. But at the same time it must 
be bom in mind that the balloon is properly handled. 

" It has been fortunate for the Association and for 
myself that we have the assistance of Mr. Coxwell ; he 
has the experience of more than 400 ascents, based upon 
knowledge of natural philosophy, and knows the why and 
because of all his operations, and it was this fact, which 
I saw immediately from the clearness of his explanations 
to me for each operation, that enabled me to dismiss from 
my mind all thoughts of my position, and to concentrate 
my whole energies upon my duties. In conclusion I feel 
certain that if these experiments fi:om the balloon are 

11 



I 



I 



163 UY LIFE AKD 

available for philosophical research, one of the brightest 
lin^ in the long chain of nsefol works, performed 
throngh the agency of the Association, will be thfr 
proving that the balloon in proper hands, may be made 
a powerfol philosophic agent." 

ASCENT FBOH THE CBTBTAL PALACE, 

April l»th, 1863: 
UB. glaisheb's accoukt. 
" In this ascent the balloon was partially filled daring 
the evening of April 17th, with the view of starting early 
the following morning. The atmosphere was at this time 
thick and misty: the wind on the earth was N£., bnt 
pilot balloons on attaining a moderate elevation fell into 
a north corrent. The wind was moving at an estimate 
Telocity of forty miles an hour, and the ascent was delayed 
honr after honr, with the hope that the upper current 
wonid change to \.E. At Ih., when the sky was nearly 
covered with clouds, and there were occasional gleams of 
Bonshine, the ascent was decided npon, althongh it was 
evident it coold not be one of long dnration, imless the 
wind changed its direction, or we resolved to cross the 
Channel, Whilst discussing this, the rope, oar only 
connecting link with the earth broke, and at Ih. 17m. 
we started very unceremoniously, the balloon making a 
great lurch as it rose ; I was thi-own amoug my instrn- 
ments, and unfortunately both Daniell's and Regnault'a 
hygrometers were broken. Within three minntes we were 
more than 3,000 feet high. At 4,000 feet, cumnlns 
clouds were on our level, and a thick mist rested every- 
where on the earth. At Ih. 26m. we were 7,000 feet 



BALLOON EXPEBIENGES. 163 

high, in a thick mist which almost amounted to a fog. 
The temperature of the air continued at nearly 32*, whilst 
that of the dew-point increased several degrees. On 
passing out of the cloud these two temperatures very 
suddenly separated, the la,tter decreasing rapidly ; the sky 
was of a deep blue, without a cloud on its surface. At 
Ih. 30m. we were 10,000 feet high; directly under us 
was a sea of clouds. The towers of the Crystal Palace 
were visible, and by them we found we were moving south. 

" The temperature before starting was 61°; it decreased 
to 32"" on reaching the clouds, and continued at this point 
whilst in them ; but suddenly fell to 23 J° on leaving the 
cloud, and was either less or the same at every successive 
reading till we reached the height of 20,000 feet, where 
the lowest temperature was recorded. In passing above 
four miles the temperature increased to 14 J°, and then 
declined to 12J° at the highest point, viz., 24,000 feet 
at one hour and thirteen minutes after starting. 

*' When we were just four miles high, on descending, we 
began to reflect that possibly we might have been moving 
more quickly than we expected, and it was necessary to 
descend till we could see the earth below. The valve was 
opened rather freely at 2h. 34m., and we fell a mile in 
three minutes. We descended quickly, but less rapidly, 
through the next mile, and reached the clouds at 12,000 
feet from the earth, at 2h. 42m. On breaking through 
them at 2h. 44m., still 10,000 feet from the earth, I was 
busy with my instruments, when I heard Mr. Coxwell 
exclaim, * What's that?' He had caught sight of Beachy 
Head. I looked over the car^ and the sea seemed to be 



164 MY LIFE AKD 



r 

^B under us. Mr. Coxwell again exclaimed, ' There's not a 

^1 moment to spare ; we mast save tlie land at all risks. 

Leave the instruments.' Mr, Coxwell almost hung to the 

valve-line, and told me to do the same, and not to mind it 

I cutting my band. It was a bold decision, opening the 
valve in this way, and it was boldly carried out. 
" When a mile high, the earth seemed to be coming up 
to ue. There were two rents in the balloon, cut by t 
valve-line ; these we conld not heed. Up, ap, the eartii 
appeared to come, the fields momentarily enlarging ; and 
we struck the earth at 2h. 48m. at Newhaven, veiy near tie 
sea— of course with a great crash, but the balloon by the 
very free use of the valve-line had been crippled and never 
rosB again, or even dragged us from the spot on which we 
fell. Nearly all the iDatrnmentg were broken, and to mj 
great regret three very delicate and beautiM tliermometera 
specially sent to me by M. A. L'Abbadie for these obset- 
vations, were all smashed. I was fortnnate, however 
seizing and placing in my pocket the aneroid barometer, 
which had been up with me in every high ascent. It wfl» 
^ this instrument that Mr, Coxwell had read when ) 
^b were seven miles high, and I at the time in a state of 
^M insensibility. 

^B " The diagram shows the patli of the balloon. Fro' 

H this, it will be seen, that the ascent was gradual from 
H 16,000 feet to the highest point, and there was sufBcient 
^M time for the instrnments to attain the true temperature. 
^M We were above four miles for half an honr, not passing 
^B above 24,000 feet. On passing below four miles it would 
^B seem that the drop to three miles was nearly a straight 






V 



V .---- 



iS' 



i.i 



■^•i 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 165 

line^ and the next mile, though occupying a little more 
time, was passed quickly. The position of the clouds was 
fortunately very high, as is shown on the diagram, which 
likewise indicates the very rapid descent of two miles in 
four minutes. The whole time of descending the four 
miles and a quarter was about a quarter of an hour only. 
The diagram will speak to the eye more forcibly than 
language, showing as it does our close proximity to the sea, 
and the narrow escape from such a dangerous immersion." 

UNEXPECTED SCIENTIFIC RESULTS. 
REPORT BY MR. GLAISHER. 

" In the ascent from Wolverton on June 26th, 1863, as 
described in my * Travels in the Air,' the Directors of the 
North Western Eailway Company provided the gas, and 
gave every facility to members of the Committee of the 
British Association and their friends to be present. The 
gasometers at Wolverton were too small to hold gas 
enough to fill the balloon, it was therefore partly inflated 
the night before, and remained out all night without being 
influenced by the slightest wind. The morning of the 
ascent was also calm, and the sky of a deep blue, implying 
the presence of but little vapour. The atmosphere was 
bright and clear, and all the circumstances were of the 
J^aost promising kind. The hour of ascent was fixed to 
take place some little time after the arrival of the express 
train from London, or at a little after noon ; and the filling 
^as somewhat delayed, the extraordinary fineness of the 
JJttoming promising its completion in a short time. 
Between eleven and twelve all these favourable circum- 
stances changed : the sky became covered with clouds, and 



1 1 



166 MY LIFE AND 

some of them of a stonny character. The wIe 
blew strongly, the balloon lurched a great d 
difficulty was experienced in passing the g] 
balloon, and sufficient could not be passed 
o'clock. The wind was momentarily increas 
became very desirable to be away. The greate 
was experienced in fixing the instruments, and 
in great danger of being broken by the violent 
the balloon, and the incessant striking of the c 
ground, notwithstanding the exertions of fifty ] 
it fast. 

** At the time of our departure the spring 
jammed so tight by the pressure of the wind tl 
not act, and we were let free by the simultanec 
of the men, and had to part instantly with ball 
striking fidjacent buildings. 

" It was three minutes after one when we lef 
with a strong W.S.W. wind ; the temperatu: 
four minutes we were 4000 feet high, and ent( 
with a temperature of 50°, experiencing a n 
feeling of cold. As on all previous occasions, 
soon to break through the clouds into a floO' 
sunlight, with a beautiful blue sky, without a i 
us, and with seas of rocky clouds below. ] 
contrary, when we emerged, it was dark and di 
us there were clouds. 

*'At 9000 feet high we heard the sighing, 
moaning of the wind as preceding a storm ; 
first time that I had heard such a sound in th 
satisfied ourselves that it was in no way attribut 



167 

movement of the cordage about tho balloon, but that it 
was owing to conflicting cnrrcnta of air beneath. At this 
time we saw the son very faintly, and momentarily expected 
its brQliancy to increase, bat instead of this, although wa 
now were two miles high, we entered a fog, and entirely lost 
sight of the Monarch of the Heavens. Shortly afterwards 
fine rain fell upon ua. Then we entered a dry fog, and at 
12,000 feet passed out of it ; saw the aun again faiutly for 
a short time, and then entered a wetting fog. At 15,000 
feet we were still in fog, but it was not so wetting. At 
16,000 feet we entered a ivy fog ; at 17,000 feet saw faint 
gleams of the sun, and at the same height we heard a 
train. We were now about three miles high. Ah we 
looked around there were clouds below us, others on our 
level at a distance, and yet more above. We looked with 
astonishment at each other, and said that as we were 
rising steadily we ranst surely soon pass through them. 

" At 17,600 feet we were again enveloped in fog, which 
became wetting at 18,500 feet. We left this cloUd below 
at 19,600 feet. At 20,000 feet the aun was just visible. 
We were now approaching four miles high ; clouds, dense 
clondB, were still above us ; for a space of 2,000 to 3,000 
feet we met with no fog, but on passing above four miles 
high, our attention was attracted to a dark mass of cloud, 
and then to another on our level. Both these clouds had 
fringed edges, and were unmistakably nimbi. Without 
the slightest doubt they were both rain clouds. Whilst 
looking at them we again lost sight of everything, being 
fflveloped in fog whilst passing upwards through 1,000 feet. 
!2,000 feet we again emerged, and were above clouds 



i. J 

168 MY LIPE AND 



I , 
» I 

' ■ I. 



on passing above 23,000 feet. At six minutes 
heard a railway train ; the temperature here ^ 
still wished to ascend to find the limits of this ^ 
!Mr. Coxwell knew better, and I was met with s 
* Too short of sand. I cannot go higher ; w£ 
even stop here.' I was therefore most reluctantly 
to abandon the wish, and looked searchingly ar 
this highest point, in close proximity to us, were rt 
below us, dense fog. I was again reminded thf 
not stop here. With a hasty glance everywhc 
below, all around, I saw the sky nearly covered 
clouds of a stratus character, with cirri still h 
small spaces of faint blue sky between them ; th 
not the blue of four or five miles high, as 1 1 
seen it before, but a faint blue, as seen from 
whon the air is charged with moisture. 

'* Hastily gLuiciiig over tlio whole scene, the 
extensive, fine, or picturesque view, as in such s 
had always before seen. The visible area wa 
the atmosphere was murky ; the clouds were con 
the aspect everywhere dull. 

'* I cannot avoid expressing the surprise I li 
the extraordinary power which a situation like 
forth, when it is felt that a few moments or 
devoted to note down all appearances and all circ 
at these extreme positions ; and if not thus rapid 
they are lost for ever. In such situations every fi 
of the most trivial kind is noticed ; the eye 
become keener, the brain more active, and e 
increased in power to meet the necessities of 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 169 

and afterwards, when time has elapsed, it is wonderful how 
distinctly, at any moment, scenes so witnessed can be 
recalled and made to reappear mentally in all their details, 
so vividly, that had I the power of the painter I could 
reproduce them visibly to the eye upon canvas. 

"We then began our downward journey, wondering 
whether we should meet the same phenomena. Soon we 
were enveloped in fog, but passed below it when at 22,000 
feet, and then we saw the sun faintly. At 20,000 feet we 
were in a wetting fog, and passed beneath it at 19,500 feet, 
experiencing great chilliness; fog was then above and 
below. I now wished to ascend into the fog again to 
check the accuracy of my readings as to its temperature, 
and the reality of the chill we had felt. This we did ; 
the temperature rose to its previous reading, and fell again 
on descending. 

'* For the next 1000 feet we passed down through a 
thick atmosphere, but not in cloud or fog. At the height 
of 18,000 feet we were again in fog. At three miles high 
we were still in fog, and on passing just below three miles 
rain fell pattering on the balloon. This was one mile 
higher than we experienced rain on the ascent, but it was 
much heavier. On passing below 14,000 feet, and for a 
space of nearly 5000 we passed through a beautiful snowy 
scene. There were no flakes in the air — the snow was 
entirely composed of spiculaB of ice, of cross spiculsB at 
angles of GO"*, and an innumerable number of snow crystals, 
small in size, but distinct and of well-known forms, easily 
recognizable as they fell and remained on the coat. This 
unexpected meeting with snow on a summer afternoon was 



1 



170 MY L.IFE AND 

b11 that waa needed on this occasion to complete the 
experience of the characteristics of extreme heat of sununer 
with the cold of winter within the range of a few hours. 
On passing helow the snow, which we did when about 
10,000 feet from the earth, we entered a murky atmosphere, 
which continued till we reached the gi-onnd ; indeed, bo 
thick and misty was the lower atmosphere, that although 
we passed nearly over Ely Cathedral we were unable to sea 
it. When 5000 feet high, we were without sand, and 
simply became a falling body, rapidity being checked by 
throwing the lower part of the balloon into the shape of 
a parachute. The place of descent was in a field on 
the borders of the counties of Cambridge and Norfolk, 
twenty miles from the mouth of the Wash, and eight 
miles fi'om Ely. 

" This Wolyerton ascent must rank among the moat 
extraordinary of my series, giving scientific data of great 
interest and results most unexpected. The leading features 
will most readily be seen by looking at the diagram, on 
which the black line shows the path of the balloon, and He 
figures near to it the temperature of the air, which will be 
observed to decrease from 65" to 18" at the highest point, 
and to increase to 66° again on descending to the earth. 
By following the path clouds will be seen to be reached at 
4000 feet, and above this an attempt hns been made to 
show to the eye at a glance the varying strata and their 
situations through which we passed. The bent arrows in; 
the ascending track are placed where we heard the moaning 
of the wind. The faint shading just above is where wft 
saw the sun, and momentarily expected to come within its 



A 



\ 









BALLOON EXPEBIENOES. 171 

influence. The rain which fell at 10,000 feet, the partially 
clear spaces and those of more or less dense fog in the 
ascent to the highest point, and the appearance of the. sky 
there, are clearly seen in the diagram, as well as the place 
of re-ascension in the downward journey to which I have 
referred. The clear spaces are those where we were out of 
fog at 14,000 feet. At a lower level will be seen the 
snowstorm of 5000 feet in thickness, and below that the 
thick and misty atmosphere till the earth was reached." 



ilY LIFE AND 



CHAPTER IX. 



I 



COASTING IN A 

f Letter from Mr. Hatton Tumor to the Editor of The Timet. 

'N a former occasion you did me the honour to 
insert an account of a balloon trip till then the 
moat rapid on record ; and I now hope that you 
may again find room in the valnahle space of your journal 
account of a trip made yesterday by Mr. Glaisber 
■and Mr. Coxwell, in which, by thoir kind penniasion, 
another gentleman and myself were allowed to join. 

Having previously obtained the knowledge, from 
observation of the clouds and a paper-pilot, that the 
lower current was flowing almost due west, while the 
upper was from north to south, we rose quietly from the 
Crystal Palace at 4.46 p.m. 

" Mr. Glaisber, with a variety of instruments surrounding 
him, commenced at once hia observations, which I hope 
may be published. The lower current carried us towards 
London, and we almost hoped to back Eton with our 
cheers, but unfortunately we reached the upper current, 
and were caiTied slowly past Croydon, where we observed 
tents, and a large concourse. We passed immediately 
over a beautiful park near Epsora, which Mr, Glaisber 
photographed. We crossed the South-Eastern Railway, 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 173 

between Bnckland and Beigate town. Here the rail, 
following the curves of the chalk-hills and Bletchworth, 
drew attention. Between this and Horsham we attained 
our greatest elevation, not much over a mile, as we wished 
to go distance, not height, hoping to cross the Channel ; 
but the sluggishness of the atmosphere disappointed us. 
After once enjoying the pleasures of seeing the fields 
contracting, we allowed them to expand, and remained 
at a lower altitude. Passing immediately over Horsham, 
Mr. Glaisher took another photograph. We saw the sea, 
and from the inlet perceived that we were going straight 
for New Shoreham. 

" * The sea looks tempting,' we all exclaimed ; but, 
alas ! it was seven o'clock, and our pace not rapid, so 
this must be postponed. 

"Mr. Coxwell drops us into the lower current, and we 
coast about five miles from the shore, at not more than 
1500 feet, and sometimes only 600 feet from the ground. 
Nothing could be more enjoyable. Villagers shouting 
to us to come down, and occasionally answering our 
questions ; the cheery cries of children ; sheep flocking 
on the downs, not knowing which way to go; geese 
cackling and scuttling off to the farms, other birds 
remaining in trees ; while a pack of hounds was in the 
wildest excitement within their kennels, trying to get 
out. We passed immediately over the parks of Arundel 
and Dale, hearing the pheasants crowing as they went 
to roost. 

"Mr. Coxwell thought at this time of crossing the 
Solent, and landing in the Isle of Wight; but the 



r 174 UT UFE AND 



F 

H'Viiid getting a little more southerly, and Imowitig the 

B iDConyenieDce of the couDtry near Portsmouth for landing 

H vhen dark, we took advantage of an open piece of grass near 

H the house at Goodwood, and descended eoou after 8 p^n. 

H " Mr. Coxwell, after throwing a rope to a cricket«i, 

H lajided ne bo gently that wg could not have crushed s 

f daisy. We were afterwards drawn hy a rope to the front 

of the house, for the benefit of a few gazers. I hod 

hoped that Mr, Coxwell would here tether his balloon 

and continue our journey next day ; but it was Sunday, 

and Bo he Tesolved to pack it up ; otherwise, the upper 

current being again north, our wishes might this day 

lave been happily accomplished. 

" Our thanks ai-e due to Captain Valentine, and other 
good people there assembled, for the assistance they gave 
us in packing np. 

" Chichester, July 12th, 1863." 

MOBE INFORMATION ABOUT RAIN OBTAINED. 
REPOET BY MB. GLAI8HEB. 

" The weather on July 21st, 1863, was bad, the sky 
overcast and rainy. Although in every respect a 
-thoroughly bad day, it was well suited to a particular 
purpose I had in view, viz., to investigate, if possible, 
some points concerning the formation of rain in the clouds 
themselves ; to determine why a much larger amount of 
rain is collected in a gauge near the surface of the earth 
than in one placed at an elevation in the same locality, and 
whether during rain the air is saturated completely ; or, 
if not, to what extent ; also to discover the regulating 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 176 

causes of a rainfall, which sometimes occurs in large 
drops, at others in minute particles. 

'^ So long back as the years 1842 and 1848 I made 
many experiments in order to ascertain why so great a 
-diflference in volume was found to exist in the water 
collected at lower stations as compared with that collected 
at higher. 

" The experiments which yielded the best results were 
those in relation to temperature. 

** I always found that when the rain was warm, with 
respect to the temperature of the air at the time, no 
difference existed in the quantities of rain collected at 
different heights ; but when the temperature of the rain 
was lower than the temperature of the air, a considerable 
difference existed. 

** From this circumstance it would appear probable that 
the difference in the quantities of rain collected at 
different heights is owing (at least in part) to the great 
condensation of the vapour in the lower atmosphere, 
through being in contact with the relatively cold rain. 

** In this ascent I desired to confirm or otherwise 
Mr. Green's deductions. 

** This gentleman, believing that whenever a fall of rain 
happens from an overcast sky, there will invariably be 
found to exist another stratum of cloud at a certain 
elevation above the first ; I determined, if I found it so; to 
measure the space between them and the thickness of the 
upper stratum, and to ascertain whether the sun was 
shining on its upper surface. 

'^ We left the earth at 4h. 52m., and in ten seconds had 



ttl UFE AND 



WcGoded into the miat ; in twenty seconds, to a level with 
t&e cloads, but not tlirough them. At the height of 1,200 
feet, we passed out of this rain. 

" At the height of 2,800 feet we emerged from clondsi 
ftnd saw a stratum of darker clond above; we then 
descended to 800 feet, over the West India Docks, and 

V rain falling heavily upon the earth. None fell upon 

) balloon ; that which we saw, therefore, had its origfli 
within 800 feet of the ground. 

" We ascended again, and this time passed upwards 
through fog, 1,400 feet in thickness. 

At 3,300 feet we were again out of cloud, and once 
more saw the dark stratum at a distance above ; clouds 
obscured the earth below. 

" On descendiug, at 2,700 feet we entered a diy fog, but 
it became wetting 100 feet lower down. After passing 
through 600 feet of it, the clouds became more and more 
wetting, and below were intensely black. 

"At 5h. 28m., we were about 700 feet high, or about 
500 feet above Epping Forest, and heard the noise of the 
rain pattering upon the trees. 

" Again we ascended to 2,000 feet ; then through squalls 
of rain and wind descended to 200 feet, the rain-diops 
being as large as a fourpenny piece, the same as when we 
left the earth. 

" On reaching the earth, we found that rain had been 
falling heavily all the time we were in the air. 

" Thus this journey gave more information about rain 

kthan we ever before had gained, and which could be 
btained by means of the balJoou alone." 



BALLOON EXPEBIENCES. 177 

BALLOON SUBVEY OF POBTSMOUTH AND THE 

ISLE OF WIGHT. 

My recent aerial reconnaissance at Aldershot having been 
witnessed by Mr. Brown, the proprieter of the Portsmouth 
Becreation Grounds, an application was made to me by that 
gentleman with the view of ascertaining whether I would 
attempt any experiment of a similar character at this 
famous seaport. When I had explained the nature of my 
engagement at Aldershot, and that it was in compliance 
with Government orders, Mr. Brown decided to have a 
public ascent. I agreed to make it on one or two conditions : 
— ^firstly, that it should take place if the wind was fair for the 
Isle of Wight, secondly, that I would oflfer no objection if 
I could even skirt the coast or proceed somewhat inland. 

As it was doubtful whether my balloon, the ** Evening 
Star," could be filled, I borrowed a small one from Mr. 
Youens, and it was well filled by the appointed hour — 7 
o'clock, the wind at that time being fresh from the west- 
ward, which occasioned much doubt as to whether I would 
make the ascent or not. 

Belying upon the careful observations I had previously 
made with chart, compass and pilot balloons, and allowing 
for local variations, I left the North-end Gardens at 7.15, 
with full confidence as to my probable course. The scene 
which opened out in the space of five minutes, was alto- 
gether novel. Instead of the widespread landscape so 
flBuiiiliar to aerial voyagers, with its variegated surface of 
green and brown fields, I now had a commanding view of a 
beautiful island and of a town and harbour so smTounded 

12 



1T8 mt life and 

water, with the Channel "beyond, that, had it not been 
for the reliance I had in the direction of the wind, 
I should have fancied that I wan hkely to he blown awaj 
dno south, and to drift out to sea. Although I was 
provided with an excellent barometer and thermometer, 
ented to me by Mr. Glaisher, I had very litUe 
f^portnnity of using them frequently, and I felt how 
TuluaUe Ml. Olaisher's presence would have been in 
the car. 

What most engaged my own attention was a general sni- 
Tey of the town, fortifications, and shipping, from a military 
point of view. I was agreeably surprised to find the 
atmosphere being clear, how well I could perceive and count 
tiie cannon mounted on the ramparts ; the ships conid easily 
be distinguiehed, and there waa no di£Qcnlty in finding from 
port-holea, their relative sizes, whether coivettea, frigates, 
or hne-of-battle ships. The bold and leading features of 
Portsmouth as a naval and military stronghold, might have 
fceen canvassed in an interesting manner, had I had 
companions, instead of being alone. 

I very soon satisfied myself most thoroughly as to the 
extent of objects visible to the naked eye and to an ordinary 
lasion assisted by a common opera glass. At 7.35, baro- 
meter 26,6, thermometer 46., I saw through a glass the 
Tisitors on Ryde pier promenading. The distance could 
not have been leas than seven or eight miles. I observed, 
also, marines or soldiers of the line in front of a goard- 
hoase, and several steamers between Gosport and Sonthsea 
Caatle. Being soon over the water, I had to withdrai 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 179 

attention and look ahead, as a more Boutherly breeze began 
to alter my course. 

As the shades of evening came, I found I was making for 
several extensive woods on high ground between Singleton 
and Arundel. As I crossed the first wood, a large meteor 
shot over the balloon from an easterly direction, another 
quickly following ; and although I relied upon their 
supposed altitude, and felt personal security, yet I could 
not but compare my situation to that of a ship which 
receives a shot or two across her bows, or perhaps a 241b. 
rocket, as a warning to heave-to or alter her course in 
obedience to the dictates of an enemy. 

The late hour of the night, and the high ground upon 
which Nore Wood is situated, compelled me to cast anchor 
among several tall beech trees. Indeed, I had to let oflf 
gas and leave the balloon suspended all night before I 
secured and packed it up. At daylight, several gentlemen 
volunteered to assist me, and we proceeded at 5 o'clock to 
the place of descent with ropes, ladders and hatchets, 
ready to lop off boughs or fell a tree, if necessary, rather 
than injure the balloon. 

I was obliged to return to terra firma down a tree at 
least sixty feet from the ground. In the morning, the 
balloon had quietly slid down through the boughs, and was 
not in any way damaged. 

The magnificent and complete bird's-eye view I had of 
the Isle of Wight, would occupy too much space and time 
to describe. My voyage on August 11th, 1863, was most 
exciting and in many respects peculiar, differing, as it did, 
firom previous trips. 



I 



180 MY LIFE AND 

EXCHANGE OF NATIONAL CODRTESIEB, ON OCTOBER 9th, 1863, 
ACCOUHT BT «K. GliAlSHER. 

" The place, from whicli we ascended was the Crystal 
Palace. There were iu the car besides Mr, Coxweil and 
myself, the Hon. Robert J. Walker, M.A., Councillor at 
Law in the Supreme Court of the United States, and latff 
Secretary of the Treasury, Governor of Kansas, &c., also' 
Pliny Miles, Esq. from America, and Mr. Rowe, together 
with Count Schaffgotsch, who came over to see Mr. 
Coxweil, having ascended with him previously in Germany. 

"The healths of our respective sovereigns were given, 
viz., our Queen, the Emperor of Austria, and the President 
of the United States, 

" Then the Hon. Mr, Walker gave the toast, ' May 
England and America be always at peace.' These toasts 
were celebrated when wo were 7,000 feet high, and directly 
over London Bridge. 

" The scene around was probably one that cannot bfl 
equalled in the world with one glance — the homea of 
8,000,000 of people were seen, and so distinctly, that every 
large building at every part was easily distinguished, wliile 
those almost under us, viz., the Bank and Newgate, lie 
docks, and surrounding buildings, &c., in such detail that 
their inner courts were visible, so that their ground plana 
could have been drawn. Cannon Street, leading to St. 
Paul's, was easily traced ; it was difficult to believe at first, 
that that small building was St, Paul's. Looking onwards, 
Oxford Street was visible, the Parks, the Houses of 
Parliament, and Millbank Prison, with its radiating linea 
from the centre, at once attracted notice. In fact, the 



BALLOON EXPEBIENOES. 181 

whole of London was visible, and some parts of it very 
clearly so. Then all around there were lines of detached 
villas, imbedded, as it were, in abundance of shmbs, and 
beyond, the country, like a garden, with its fields well 
marked, becoming smaller and smaller as the eye wandered 
farther and further away. 

" Again, looking down, there was the Thames, without 
the slightest mist, with all its winding course throughout 
its whole length, with innumerable ships apparently very 
long and narrow, and steam-boats like moving toys; 
Gravesend was visible, as were the mouth of the Thames 
and the coast leading on to Norfolk. The southern boun- 
dary of the mouth of the Thames was not quite so clear, 
but the sea beyond was seen for many miles ; and when 
higher up I looked for the coast of France, but I could not 
see it. On withdrawing the eye, it was arrested by the 
garden-like appearance of the county of Kent, till again 
London claimed yet more general attention ; smoke thin 
and blue, was curling above it and slowly moving away in 
beautiful curves, from all but that part south of the Thames, 
here the smoke was less blue and became apparently more 
dense ; the cause was soon evident, for it was plain that 
it was mixed with mist rising from the ground, the southern 
limits of which were bounded by an even line, doubtless 
indicating the meeting of the subsoils of gravel and clay. 

'* The whole of the scene was surmounted by a canopy of 
blue, the sky being quite clear and free from cloud every- 
where, excepting near the horizon, where a circular band of 
cumuli and strata clouds, extending all round, formed a 
fitting boundary for such a scene. The sun was seen 



MY UFE AND 



H 182 

^B Betting, but was not itself visible, except a small part, wliicb 
^M seen throagh & break in a dark strains cloud, looked like 
^H an eje over-seeing all. 
^H "Thesunset, as seen from the earth, was described as fine, 

^ the air being clear and shadows sharply defined ; bnt as we 

rose, the golden hues decreased in intensity, and at tkis 

I time ejaculations escaped from all the occupants of the cur. 

I" Both Mr, Walker and Mr. Miles have seen the suiiBets 
of the far west, and they expressed themselves as dbtm 
having witnessed anything so rich and picturesque. The 
richness of these colours decreased in intensity both right 
and left of the place of the sun, but their effects estfinded 
to fully one-fourth part of the circle, where rose-coloai 
clouds limited the scene. The remainder of the circle was 
completed by pure white eumuluB elonds of very rounded 
and symmetrical forms. 
" I have seen London from above by night, and I have 
Sfen it by day when four miles high, but nothing coold 
exceed the view on this occasion at the height of one 
mile, varying to one mile and three quarters, with a cleu 
atmosphere. The roar of London, even at the greatfirt 
height, was one nnceasing rich and deep sound, and added 
interest to the general circumstances in which we were 
placed. My attention was of necessity constantly required 
at the insti'uments, and my notes upon general views were 
very hastily made, the descriptions being, therefore, 
necessarily imperfect, but Mr. Miles took notes on thil 
occasion, and I hope the public may have the ben^t 
of them. 

" I have received several communications from gentlemen 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 183 

who saw the balloon from Hyde Park, Oxford Street, and 
Deptford, in fact at points separated from each other by 
several miles, stating that the balloon was in their respective 
zeniths, indicating how few persons really looked directly 
overhead, and also how little confidence can be placed 
in estimated observations, particularly those made near 
the zenith. 

" After six o'clock I watched the increasing blackness 
over the earth, the lighting-up of the villages and towns, 
the vanishing of the boundaries of fields, the distinct 
visibility of the first star, and circumstances generally, till 
on nearing the earth Mr. Coxwell provided me, as No. 1, 
with a bag of sand to discharge when number one should 
be called out, the Count Schaffgotsch with number two, 
i^nd Mr. Miles with number three. On nearing the earth 
number one obeyed by emptying his bag, and we touched 
the earth on one side of a high thorn hedge. " No more 
sand, we shall rise nicely," and rise we did, hopped over 
the hedge into the next field, and slid along till the grapnel 
caught in the hedge we had just passed over, and our 
journey was ended. Vivid lightning almost immediately 
played, at first startling Mr. Coxwell, who exclaimed, 
* What's that ! ' fearing the vicinity of a light near the 
gas escaping from the balloon. 

** Our place of descent was Pinton Grange, on the boun- 
daries of the counties of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, at 
the farm of Mr. Joseph Lake, t^io was present. 

*' There, and in fact always far from London, we met 
with much willing assistance, but near the metropolis 
little aid is given willingly, and the descent of the balloon 

} 



J64 MY UFB AND 



r 

H is made n pretext for as mach ostortioti as Mr. Coswell will 

H pat Qp with. This was the case on this occasion, when tiro 

H gnineas were required for carrying the balloon four or fire 

H milen ; what was paid I know not. One exception I mast 

make to this, in the case of Mr. James King, who Mndlj 

drove me and the Hon. Mr. Walker from Pinton to Hitchin, 

for which onr thanks are due." 

A BALLOON BLTIVEY OF THE BRITISH ARMY, 1863. 

Valuable papers on thisBubject by Lieutenant G. GroTer, 
E.E., and by Captain F. Eeaamont, R.E-, were read at 
Chatham in the year 1862, and are folly recorded in 
" Astra Castra," 

Captain Beaumont observed in 1863, " Since writing 
the above mentioned papers, an experiment had been 
carried out under the direction of the Ordnance Select 
Committee, an acconnt of which is subjoined. 

" On the question being brought before the Committee, 
the points they wished to estabhsh were, first, that the 
fact of being able to overlook a tract of country from a 
great elevation really conveyed the advantagi 
represented to do, and secondly, that there was nothing 
in the abstract situation which made it impracticable to 
reconnoitre from the car of a balloon, 

"With this object only in view, an ordinary hallooa 
inflated with coal gas would sufGce ; for, though unfitted 
for the purposes of a reconnaissance, still by choosing ft 
calm day it could be employed. Arrangements weifl 
therefore made for the use of one of Mr. Coxwell's 
balloons, the necessary guy-ropes, gas, &c., being provideJ 
by Government. Aldershat was the place appointed for 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 185 

the ascent, as the gas-works happened to be conveniently 
situated, and, being a camp, there would be no difficulty 
in obtaining the concurrence of the military. 

" The Authorities at the Horse Guards sent down orders 
to Aldershot, that on a suitable day for the ascent the 
troops should be marched out in different directions, so 
that the value of the balloon as a point of observation, 
could be practically determined. 

" The first day appointed proved too boisterous, and the 
experiment was put off till the 13th July, 1863. 

"A field day, however, for the Prince of Wales being 
fixed for the day after, the ascent took place on Tuesday 
the 14th. This so far modified the experiment, that no 
observations could be made on troops at the extreme 
distance at which it was anticipated they would be visible 
from the balloon. 

" The inflation was completed before eight o'clock in 
the morning, as the ropes and men being new to their 
tasks it was considered advisable that a few preliminary 
ascents should be made. The balloon was carried to 
Thorn-hill, some 300 yards from the gasworks, where the 
ascents were made. 

" Three guy-ropes were used, one of which, stronger 
than the other two, was passed through a snatch-block 
fixed to the ground. The ropes were manned by a party 
of engineers entirely new to the work. No difficulty was 
experienced in either raising or lowering the balloon, the 
latter operation being done in about fifteen minutes from 
the height of 1000 feet, the balloon remaining for upwards 
of an hour-and-a-half hovering over the camp. It was 



186 MY LIFE AND 

raised and lowered at pleasure to enable the obsenrers to 
be changed, and made some eight or ten ascents before it 
finally left the ground /or its free flight. 

''As to the practical results obtained, the experiment 
afforded no criterion of the difficulty, or otherwise, of 
inflation on active service, where the gasometers would 
have to be carried, or, of the amount of stability a captive 
balloon might be capable of attaining. It was shown, 
however, that the transport of a balloon when filled was 
simple, and that it could be easily raised or lowered. A 
tract of country altogether unseen firom the ground below 
was brought under observation, and the movements of 
troops on the top of Caesar's Camp, otherwise oiU of sight, 
were clearly discernible. From the top of Thorn-hill, the 
range of hills known as the Hog Edge, of which CsBsar's 
Camp is a part or adjunct, bounded the horizon on that 
side at a distance of somewhat less than two miles. From 
the elevation of 1000 feet such a boundary no longer 
existed, the slopes of the opposite sides of the hills even 
being visible ; in fact, an efiective horizon of twenty miles 
diameter was obtained — that is, no large movement of 
troops could take place within a radius of ten miles with- 
out being seen. 

" The day of the ascent was very still, exceptionally so, 
and how far it may be possible to overcome the difficulties 
which arise when the air is in motion, can only be 
determined by experiment. 

" My own idea, however, is, that with a properly con- 
structed apparatus, balloon reconnaissances may be made 
in a wind moving at any rate up to twenty miles per hour. 

/ 



BALLOON EXPEBIENOES. 187 

" The higher the wind, the less would, of course, he the 
altitude attained ; however, a height of even 200 feet is 
more than the spires of most churches — points of 
obBervation eagerly sought for when on the march in aa 
enemy's country. 

**It would appear, therefore, that, under certain cir- 
cumstances, the balloon affords means to an a.rmy of 
carrying with it a lofty point of observation ; and, so far 
as this experiment went, it bears out the opinion I 
expressed on the matter in the paper to which this is an 
addendum. 

" With reference to the general subject of ballooning, I 
believe that some useful results might be obtained by 
photography applied from the balloon, and I hope, should 
an experimental reconnoitring apparatus be got up, to be 
able to make some experiments in the matter." 

THE FIRST PHOTOGBAPHIC TRIP IN ENGLAND. 

In the year 1863 the late Mr. Henry Negretti had the 
special use of my large balloon to initiate experiments in 
this branch of his art, and although superior pictures have 
been taken since in France by M. Tissandier, and in 
England by Mr. Shadbolt, still the early experience of the 
enterprising photographer contains points of interest 
which ought to be mentioned in these pages. 
The following is Mr. Negretti's own account : — 
** All the usual arrangements having been made, the car 
was fitted up as a dark room (as I had resolved upon 
employing the wet collodion process) the cameras were 
fixed ; a plate had been prepared by my assistant, Mr, 
Collings ; and about twelve o'clock we started from th& 



p 



188 «Y LIPK AND 

gasworks at Bell Green, Lower Sydenham, and proceeded 
in a Bouth -easterly direction. We rose rapidly from the 
gronnd so as to clear the chimneys of the gasworks, and 
this swift ascent cansed the balloon to revolve so qiiickly 
at first that it would have been nseless to have exposed the 
plate that we had prepared. This rotatory motion of tha 
balloon continued more or less throngbont the entire 
journey, and it constitutes, indeed, the most serione obstaole 
with which the photographer has to contend. In about 8 
qaarter-of-an-honr, and at an altitude of nearly 4000 feet, 
as registered by a small pocket barometer, the car became 
much more stationary, and accordingly I now determined 
npon attempting a picture. The exposure was almost 
instantaneous, but the brief period that elapsed betwesn 
poaring on the developing solution and the uppearance of 
the image was to me one of the most anxious suspense : 
the problem of the actinic or non-actinic properties of 
light at such an altitude was to be solved ; and it was with 
some pardonable degree of exultation that I heard my 
assistant say, 'the picture has moved,' which for the 
information of the n on -photographer means that therfl 
was a picture but not a good one, owing to some move- 
ment either in the subject to he photographed or in the 
apparatus. On hearing the above exclamation I wafl 
greatly relieved, and said, ' all right, prepare another.' I 
now felt that fully one half of my most sanguine expecta- 
tions were realised, avd that I had established tht 
important fact that photography is possible at auch a ] 
distance from the earth, and that its success depends 
almost entirely upon tha rapidity with which the sensitive 



BALLOON EXPEBIENCES. 189 

plate can be exposed. One plate after another^ and still 
* moved, moved.' This seemed to me inexplicable, for 
the exposure was as instantaneous as could possibly be 
effected. 

** Ou my sitting down to reflect upon the cause of this 
moving Mr. Coxwell kindly offered to descend from his 
usual place in the ring and assist me if I wanted any help. 
Meanwhile we had penetrated into a cloud, but I was not 
fortunate enough to meet with any of those glorious 
visions which have been so ably described by some of your 
correspondents. I regretted this all the more because 
that slight movement which would be fatal to a terrestrial 
landscape would not have been so apparent in a photo- 
graphic picture of the sky. On emerging from this cloud 
the objects beneath us were much clearer than before, and 
the balloon, although still travelling at the rate of about 
fifteen miles an hour, was much steadier in its motion, 
rotating only once in some two minutes. 

** More plates were now exposed in rapid succession 
from both sides of the car with much better results, but 
still leaving quelque chose d desirer. Some heavy firing 
was heard and pronounced by Mr. Coxwell to be from 
Woolwich, at a distance of some eight or ten miles; at 
every report the car shook perceptibly — so much so that any 
attempt at obtaining pictures at that time would have been 
quite useless. One circumstance I noticed, which I think 
deserves mention. I had focussed a lovely park and 
mansion, when to my chagrin 1 saw the picture leave the 
ground glass. I wished to see it again, and took hold of 
one of the ropes that suspends the car to the balloon, and 



190 HY LIFE AND 

by sowesaive ' pollings ' succeeded in jerking the riew 
back again, bnt of coarse by so doing I had imparted a 
Diovement to the balloon which prevented me doing any- 
thing farther for some time to come. The main object of 
what was essentially an experimental trip had been 
obtained, and it had been demonstrated that photographie 
views can bo taken at elevations ranging from 3000 to 
6000 feet from the groand. Some alteration of detailB 
in tho arrangement of cameras and shatters will be needed 
previouR to another trip, and I may throw out a hint for 
the benefit of my professional confreres and amateurs, 
that I believe a circular form of car will probably tend to 
check that rotatory motion which is bo much against us. 
One thing seems clear to me, that the lenses must be 
uncovered without any exertion or movement on the part 
of the photographer; an apparatus for this purpose 
independent of the camera would, I think, be best. 
Perfect immobihty on the port of the occupants of the 
ear would tend to getting good sharp pictaree. I shall 
assuredly continue my experiments, and on the good old 
Italian motto ' cin dura vince,' I am confident that 
perseverance will result in still greater success. 

" Feeling perfectly satisfied with the results of my 
preliminary experiments I now detei-mined on descending, 
The balloon was passing over the valley of the Medway, 
and the very beantiful landscape reminded me forcibly of 
that part of Lombardy called the Brianza, as seen from 
the mountain tops at the side of my native city of Como; 
the hop gardens, also, almost vied with the vineyards of 
that district, but as we drew near the sharp-pointed poles 



BALLOON EXPEBIENOES. 191 

the prospect became decidedly less pleasant. Thanks, 
however, to Mr. Coxwell we descended in perfect safety at 
Barnjut, about two miles from Maidstone, on the property 
of Mr. Whitehead, whose only answer to our apologies 
for having so unceremoniously descended in one of his 
farmyards was a hearty English welcome, offering us 
conveyance to the railway, and expressing his regret that 
we did not alight in the park, near his mansion, where we 
should have been more comfortable." 



I 



MY LIFE AND 



CHAPTER X. 

MEETING OF THE BBITISH ASSOCIATION, 
AT NEWCASTLE IN 1863. 

'HE Times of September 2Dd, said that, " the section- 
devoted to the discussion of qaeations rekting 
to matbemntical and physical science, was densely 
crowded to hear Mr. Glaisher relate the result of hia 
meteorological experiments at varied elevations 
Mr. Coswell's balloon. 

" Colonel Sybes introduced the subject by reading t 
report of the Balloon Committee appointed by the Associa- 
tion at Cambridge in 1862, after which, Mr. Glaisher 
proceeded to read his paper. 

" Then after explaining the various readings of the dry 
and wet bulb thermometerSj Mr. Glaisher adverted to the ' 
question of the heights and appearances of clouds and the 
marked contrast between the conditions of the aerial 
regions in the summer of 1863, compared with that of th<t 
previous year. 

" After a short explanation of the velocity of the wind^ 
he went on to speak of the curious changes in colour thai 
he and Mr. Coxwell experienced in ascending, and remarked 
that they could now easily go a mile higher withoat 
turning quite so blue as before. In one descent, they very 



BALLOON EXPEBIENOES. 193 

nearly got into the sea^ and only escaped that fate by 
coining down at the rate of four miles in fifteen minutes. 
The results of all the ascents^ he considered, formed a 
bright chapter — ^perhaps the brighest — in the history of 
the Association, and, the balloon having done so much for 
science, he hoped science would do something for the 
balloon. 

" Professor Owen said he had attended this meeting of 
the section, chiefly in the hope of hearing from Mr. 
Glaisher something of the influences of these very high 
distances on the human frame, which was adapted, of 
course, to a very different medium. The fact which Mr. 
Glaisher mentioned as to his feeling a greater power of 
resisting the influences of these very high temperatures 
was very interesting in physiology, and in relation to the 
series of facts with which they were acquainted. They 
knew their lungs did adapt themSelves to atmospheres of 
different degrees of gravity, so that there were people 
who lived habitually on high mountains, and felt no 
difficulty in breathing, such as was felt at once when the 
inhabitants of a plain or low country came up to those 
elevations. 

" Now, that depended upon the greater proportion of the 
minute cells of the lungs which are open and receive an 
attenuated atmosphere, in proportion to the minute cells 
that are occupied by a quantity of mucus. Those on the 
plain did not make so large a use of their breathing 
apparatus^ as those who lived at great altitudes. Hence^ 
: more cells, occupied by mucus, would be taken up, and 
[ opened to &ee course and play ; and he had no doubt that 



I 194 UY LIPE AND 



r 

^H -was the solation of the IntereBting fact meutioned by 
^B Mr. Olaisher. 

^M " Physiologists were all agreed that one condiUon of 
^P longevity was the capacity of the chest, and, therefore, he 

hoped the increased breathing capacity acquired byMessTB. 

Glaisher and Goxwell, would tend to the prolongation of 

their lives. 

I" In the evening Mr. Glaisher and Mr. Coxwell made 
an ascent from the Cricket Ground. 
" The lecture that followed in the Town Hall on the 
following evening by Mr. Glaisher, was attended by 8,000 
persons. The chairman, at its conclusion, rose and called 
upon the large audience to express by acclamation, their 
thanks to Mr. Glaisher for the interesting lecture he had 
delivered. He bad had opportunities beyond all other men, 
of making scientific observations in the higher regions of 
the atmosphere, and he (the chairman) perceived from the 
attention they had given to Ms lecture, how much they had 
been interested by the important facts which he had com- 
municated to them, and he was sure they not only thanked 
Mr. Glaisher, but wished him every success in hiB fhtare 
explorations. (Loud applause.) 

" A general call was then made for Mr. Coxwell, who 
rose amidst the warmest acclamations, and expressed the 
pleasure and gratitude he felt for the very handsome and 
kind manner in which every mention of his name had been 
received. To Mr. Glaisher it was that science was indebted 
for the advances made in meteorology, and this gentleman, 
though he avoided speaking of the risks he encountered, 
and gave only the bright side of the picture, still moat 



SALLOOH EXFEBIEK0E8. 19S 

bravely, and without hesitation, encountered many dangers 
for the sake of advancing that branch of science to which 
he was devoted, and the British Association could not have. 
eelectfid a man of greater ability and determination, or one 
more certain to do justice to the high mission with which 
the Association had entrusted him. He briefly referred to 
the late accident which had given him the greatest pain, as 
he fully believed he was trusting his balloon to one who 
could manage it, and such a sad result could not be other- 
wise than painfnl although no blame might attach to any 
one but the unfortunate victim. He would return, however, 
to the brighter subject of Mr. Glaisher's accomplishments 
and successes. Whatever might be the results of the forth- 
coming experiments in France, and he (Mr. Coiwell) 
wished them every success, he was glad his able coadjutor 
was an Englishman, and to feel the conviction that his 
fame for these researches would long remain unequalled." 
(Load applause.) 

BIB. QIAI8HEB ON THE DBCLINE OF TEMFERATUBB. 

" On ascending with a cloudy sky, the temperature 
usually declines till the clouds are reached, bat, on 
breaking through them, there is always an increase of 
several degrees of temperature; and, after this, the decline 
of temperature usually continues, and would do so con- 
tinuously if there were no disturbing causes in operation. 
On ascending with a clear eky, we start with a higher 
temperature than with a cloudy one, as much higher as the 
loss of heat caused by the clouds, an approximate measnre 
of which is that sudden increase of temperature in passing 



from clottd to a clear aky. In no instance have I met with 
the atmosphere in a normal state In respect to temperatore, 
at different elevations — even np to fonr or five miles warn 
cQrrentB of air have been met with. By warm I mean 
that their temperatnres were higher than in the strata 
immediately beneath. These warm strata are variable is 
thickness, from 1,000 feet to 10,000 feet, and varying 
from 1 deg. to '20 deg. in excess. It is necessary, in 
considering the law of the decrease of temperature, to 
take into account the state of the sky, and to separate the 
experiments made in one state from those in the other. 
Collecting the results in the cloudy state, we have first, 
that the decline of temperature. 

When tlie aky was dovdy — 
Deg. Ft. Deg. Ft 

" IfTom to 1,U0U nas 4-7 from 1 expenments, or 1° in ^13 



1,000 „ 2,000 


„ 4-2 „ 


7 


3,000 „ 3,000 


.. 41 „ 


10 


S,000 „ 4,000 


.. 3' .. 


10 


4,000 „ 6,000 


.. 8-1 ., 


6 


When the 


iky was 


partially clea 


Deg. Ft 


Deg. 






„ 2,000 


., 6-3 „ 


6 


„ 3,000 


„ 4-6 „ 


5 


„ 4,000 


,. 3-4 „ 


6 


„ 5,000 


., 2-7 „ 


7 



"These tesalts do not at all confirm the theory of a 
decline of one degree of temperature for every increase of 
800 feet. 

" We will now consider the decrease at heights abovs 



BALLOON £!n>EBIENOES. 197 

the clond'plane. The decrease of the temperatnre of the 
air at heights exceeding 5,000 feet is as follows : — 

Ft. Ft. Deg. Ft 

'* From 5,000 to 6,000 was 2-8 from 10 experiments, or l"" in 357 





6,000 


i» 


7,000 


)f 


28 


II 


8 


II 


It 


357 




7,000 


If 


8,000 


}f 


2-7 


i> 


8 


II 


II 


370 




8,000 


tf 


9,000 


»» 


2-6 


II 


8 


II 


II 


384 




9,000 


i» 


10,000 


»» 


2-6 


II 


8 


II 


II 


384 




10,000 


** 


11,000 


}f 


2-6 


II 


8 


II 


II 


384 




11,000 


ir 


12,000 


»» 


2-6 


II 


6 


II 


11 


384 




12,000 


It 


13,000 


11 


2-5 


It 


6 


li- 


II 


400 




13,000 


It 


14,000 


It 


2-2 


It 


6 


lt 


II 


455 




14,000 


»> 


15,000 


11 


2-1 


II 


9 


II 


11 


477 




15,000 


*t 


16,000 


}» 


21 


II 


9 


II 


II 


477 




16,000 


)) 


17,000 


II 


1-9 


II 


9 


II 


11 


527 




17,000 


tf 


18,000 


It 


1-8 


II 


9 


II 


II 


556 




18,000 


»r 


19,000 


II 


1-8 


II 


9 


II 


It 


556 




19,000 


)) 


20,000 


II 


1-5 


II 


9 


II 


II 


667 




20,000 


ti 


21,000 


II 


1-3 


II 


9 


II 


II 


771 




21,000 


11 


22,000 


II 


1-3 


II 


9 


11 


11 


771 




22,000 


11 


23,000 


II 


1-0 


II 


9 


II 


II 


1,000 




23,000 


19 


24,000 


II 


1-3 


II 


2 


II 


II 


771 




24,000 


11 


25,000 


II 


11 


II 


2 


11 


II 


909 




25,000 


11 


26,000 


II 


10 


. II 


1 


II 


II 


1,000 




26,000 


11 


27,000 


II 


10 


II 


1 


11 


II 


1,000 




27,000 


11 


28,000 


}i 


0-9 


II 


1 


II 


11 


1,012 




28,000 


11 


29,000 


II 


0-8 


II 


1 


II 


II 


1,050 



** These results follow almost in sequence with those 
found with the partially clear sky, and together show that 
a change of temperature of one degree takes place in 
189 feet near the earth, and that it requires fully 1,000 feet 
for a change of one degree at the height of 80,000 feet. 

** By adding successively together the decrease due to 
each 1,000 feet, we have the whole decrease of temperature 
from the earth to the different elevations. 



KT LITE AND 




F*. Ft. Deg. 




am e to 1,000 the deareue wu 7-8 or 1° on the avenge 


„ „ a,ooo „ ia-8 




„ 3,000 „ 17-1 




,. *.0O0 „ 20-6 




., 5,000 „ 33-2 




., 6,000 „ 36-0 




„ 7,000 „ S8-8 




„ 8,000 „ 31-5 




., B.OOO „ 34-1 




„ 10,000 „ 307 




„ „ 11.000 „ 39'3 




,. 13,000 „ 11-9 




„ 13,000 „ 44-4 




„ 14,000 „ 46-3 




„ 15,000 „ 48-7 




„ 16.000 „ EO-8 




„ 17,000 ,. 63-7 




„ .. 18,000 „ 64-S 




.. 19,000 .. E6-3 




., 20,000 ., S7-8 




.. 21.000 ,. 69-1 




., 23,000 „ 61-4 




„ 23,000 „ 63-4 




„ 34,000 „ 63-7 




„ „ 35,000 „ 64-8 




„ „ 26,000 „ 66-8 




„ 27,000 „ 66-8 




„ 38.000 „ 67-7 




„ 29,000 „ 6B-S 




„ 30.000 „ 7»0 


;*r i 



" The following barometer readings for different beighta 
wiU be interesting : — 



BALLOON EXPBEIENCEB. 199 

' FROM THE ORICKET GROUND NEWCASTLE. 

Ag reported by a Local Newspaper. 
" One of the great events coniiected with the present 
meeting of the British Association, was understood to be 
another scientific ascent by Mr. Glaiaher and Mr. Coxwell. 
This ascent took place, and the popular interest excited 
was decidedly greater than that excited by any other event 
connected with the Association. Everybody coidd share 
the pleasure and excitement produced by a balloon ascent ; 
and the gi'cat mass of our townsfolk did share in it. The 
Mayor, on the requisition of a number of oar leading 
firms, had wisely appointed that the afternoon should be 
holden as a general holiday. The consequence was that 
all the positions surrounding the cricket ground, from 
which a. view of the bftlloon could be obtained, were 
occupied early in the afternoon. In the enclosure itself, 
some hundreds of the members of the British Association 
were assembled. The inflation of the balloon began about 
half-past one in the afternoon, and was not completed till 
nearly six in the evening. The balloon employed on this 
occasion, we believe, was constructed by Mr. Coxwell 
Mpecially for scientific ascents. It is of immense size and 
Bbeantifal form, and requires 95,000 feet of gas to infiate 
■ it. Messrs. Coxwell and Glaisher usually perform their 
jonrneys alone ; but on this occasion they were accompanied 
by Master G. W. Lee Glaisher, a son of Mr. Glaisher, 

Iaboat fourteen years of age, Captain Bond, Mr. Smith, 
and Mr. J. Pullan, one of our reporters. When 
Mr. Glaisher had arranged his delicate instruments, and 
Hr. Coxwell had adjusted his still more important I 



hm 



HT LIFE AND 




macliiiiery, the atrial moDBter, amidst the plandltB of the 
spectators, swiftly and steadily left the earth. The clonds 
were low at the time, so that the ballooD was speedilj 
hidden by them. As it rose higher, however, it was seen 
■nd lost again repeatedly as a diminishing object in the 
heavens. Glistening in the sonlight, it was not entirely 
lost to view for half-an-hour after it left the earth. The 
ascent was made so near to the coast that the direction of 
the wind was a matter of some moment, and severs! 
" pilots " were dispatched to ascertain it. As the great 
balloon itself ascended, it took a southerly direction, bat 
diverged slightly to the east as it got into higher currants 
of air. The proceedings were enlivened by the pet- 
Ibimances of the bands of the 1st Newcastle, and the 
^ Northnmherland Artillery Tolunteers, permitted to be 
present by the kindness of the commanding ofl5cers. The 
balloon was the Mammoth, with which Mr. Glaisher and 
Mr. Coswell have made all their scientific ascents." 

THE FATAL BALLOON ACCIDENT NEAR NOTTISiGHAM, 

During the meeting of the British Association at 
Newcastle -npon-Tyue, in August 1863, allusion was made 
to this regrettable circumstance by the Newcastle Chronicle 
in the following terms : — 

" The lamentable occurrence which happened on Monday 
last is a fair theme for comment. 

" There was a fete at Basford Fark, near Nottingham, 
and Mr. Goxwell was annonnced to ascend with iuB 
balloon. This was not the famous 'Mammoth,' in which 
BO many successful expeditions have been made, but a new 



BALLOON EXPEBIENOES. 201 

one, in which he himself had never journeyed. It was 
fully inflated by half-past five on Monday evening; the 
aeronaut took his place in the car, but soon found that, 
even without any ballast it would not lift him. Three 
times he made the experiment, but the gas was heavy and 
unfitted for its purpose. At this juncture a Mr. Chambers, 
son of a well-known aeronaut, stepped forward, and, 
remarking that he was a lighter man than Mr. Coxwell, by 
four stone, proposed to make the ascent in his stead. The 
public were getting impatient, and Mr. Coxwell, remember- 
ing the conduct of large crowds towards him on some 
former occasions, thought it probable enough that violence 
would be offered both to his property and to himself if the 
people missed the 'sensation' which had been promised. 
It would be shameful to insinuate a charge of timidity 
against a man who has given so many and such splendid 
proofs of courage; and there is no doubt that he was 
chiefly influenced by his desire to keep faith with the 
public. It must be borne in mind, also, that he knew 
Chambers had made many ascents from Cremorne Gardens 
and other places, though never in Mr. Coxwell's own 
company. There was, therefore, reasonable ground for 
supposing that he knew how to manage, and that there 
would be no danger in allowing him to take his seat in the 
car. A shower of rain was approaching ; the impatience 
of the crowd increased, and in an unhappy moment 
Mr. Coxwell gave his consent. The ascent was a good 
one ; all seemed going well, but suddenly it was observed 
that ballast was being thrown out. What could this 
mean ? Mr. Coxwell shouted, warning Chambers of his 



I 
I 



,903 UT LIFE AND 

error ; bat it was persisted in ; and althoagb, b; merely 
opening a vaWe — an operation not mach mcwe difGcnlt 
than palling a bell — this upward motion could bare been 
checked, the balloon still rose. Ere long, however, it wu 
lost in a dark cloud, and when next visible was deBce&dicg 
rapidly, at a distance of six miles. According to Mr. 
Coxwell's theory, it bad emerged into sunshine, when the 
gas of coarse expanded rapidly, and streamed out of the 
neck or safety valve, which, as those who have ascended 
know to their cost, is always left open. A few minutes 
afterwards the balloon came flapping down to the ground, 
near Scoat Lane, Arnold; it rebounded again, and then 
settled on the earth. At the bottom of the car, a hand- 
kerchief in his mouth, the valve-cord twisted round his 
wrist, his left thigh fractored and some of bis ribs broken, 
lay the unhappy man, gasping for breath. Death sood 
ensued, rather &om safTocation than from the injuriefl 
received by the concussion. 

"In no way does Mr. Coswell deseiTC censm^. It ia 
plain that the accident was caused not by any Saw in the 
balloon, bnt by want of skill or nerve on the part of the 
unfortunate victim. The verdict of the jury completely 
exonerates the veteran aeronaut from blame ; and the 
coroner wisely dwelt upon the fact that no pecuniary profit 
was to be gained by bis allowing another person to ascend. 
It had, in fact, been just arranged that the balloon should 
be sent by itself, when this unfortunate man volunteered 
to take charge of it, as it would not lift Mr. Coxweil. 
This gives fresh point to the protests that we have made 
from time to time, aud this melancholy incident mast not 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 



fallowed to throw discredit upon ballooning itself, when 
perly conducted by men of experience. For any one 
imperfectly acquainted with the proper means of ascending 
or descending, to undertake aach a journey alone, is an 
act of temerity which will generally be terribly punished. 
Whatever cause rendered him so helpless — whether it was 
want of practice, sudden illness, or stupefaction produced 
by inhaling too much of the gas that came from the safety- 
valve — poor Chambers has paid a heavy price for his error. 
His fate, let us hope, will eerve to deter others from 
running a similar risk without proper guidance ; but it 
would be a serious misfortune if such an accident were 
distorted by ignorant comments into an argument against 
aerial exploration." 

SECOND ASCENT FOB MILIIABY OBJECTS. 

The Naval and Military Intelligence of the first week 
in October, 1863, contained the following report of my 
ascent from the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich. 

" The Members of the Ordnance Select Committee, 
with General Sir David Wood, E.A., Major-General 
Sandham, Governor of the Royal Military Academy; 
Brigade-Major Milward, and other ofRcers, assembled at 
the Royal Arsenal to witness ascents with Mr. Coxwell's 
balloon, the War Department having sanctioned a series 
of experiments in order to ascertain the value of balloons 
when used to reconnoitre the movements of an army in 
the field, or to obtain information as to the position of an 
enemy's forces. The whole of the available troops in 
irrison had previously marched out in two divisions — the 
loyal Marines and Infantry, commanded . by Colonel 



''904 HY UFB AHD 

Mitchell, to CbialelmrBt, and the Eoyal Artillery, com- 
manded by Colonel Travere, to Bexloy Heath. The 
ballooD, having been inflated with 35,000 cubic feet of 
gas at the Arsenal works, was removed by a detachment of 
itoyal Engineers to the Oan Park, and a rope attached to 
tiie balloon having been lashed to one of the gnne, 
Mr. Cox well ascended with Captain Heyman, Secretary of 
the Ordnance Select Committee, and other officers, and 
the troops were seen whilst retnrning borne, headed by the 
bands of the two divisions. Ultimately, about five o'oloek, 
the balloon was set free, and conveyed Mr. Coxwell, 
Captain Beaumont, and Lieut. Grover to Finchley, the 
«a8terii portion of the metropolis having been crossed a 
they proceeded in a somewhat circuitous direction." 

M. NADia's BJiLLOON. 

I must not take leave of this remarkable year in 
balloouiug without a concise notice of the gigantic balloon 
«onstmcted in Paris by M. Tonmachon Nadar, le beau 
Nadar, as his friends loved to call the &ank and jovial 
laughter -loving compagnon, the skilful photographer, 
whose tall, well-knit frame, pointed him out to the 
sannterere on the Boulevards. This ingenious French- 
man constmcted a balloon, the dimensions of which fat 
surpassed that of the Nassau balloon, or of my "Mam- 
moth," the relative dimensions of which, in diameters, 
and cubic contents were as follows : — 

Green's in cliftmetet 50 feet, futd enbio contentB 70,000 feet. 
CoiweU's „ OTerSe „ „ „ 93,000 „ 

Nadu'B „ 74 „ „ „ 215,000 „ 

Underneath this hnge machine was placed a smaller 



TKl NI-vV ■. .:)F. ". 

PUBLIC LI Lb.'. ' 






^ BALLOON EXPEEIENCEB. 205 

"balloon, called a compensator, the intended use of which 
■was to prevent loss of gas during the voyage, bat I need 
hardly observe that the idea was not practically realised. 
The car was also of a fanciful, cumbersome, and cage-like 
form, being the model of a cottage in ivicker-work, which 
had two stories of eight feet high and thirteen feet in 
length, and contained a small printing office, a photo- 
graphic department, refreshment room, &e. 

On October 4th, 1863, it was launched in Paris, when 
thirteen persons went np. At the descent at Meaux an 
accident to the valve-hne occurred. 

A week or two later another ascent was made, and after 
remaining aloft for the night, the balloon descended near 
Nieubnrg in Hanover, a distance of about 400 miles 
having been accomplished, but a strong wind blew at the 
time, and the passengers were dragged for a long distance 
over the ground, and some of them were injured including 
M, Nadftr. Before this voyage was undertaken Mr. Boley, 
the General Manager of the Crystal Palace, had gone over 
to Paris to engage Nadar for some ascents. It had been 
given out that the French aeronaut was about to make a 
trip to Russia, and his services at any cost were to be 
secured, aa snch a wonderful voyage would if really 
made, make Nadar popular in England. 

The Manager, in rather an appealing manner, asked me 
if I would mind giving place to the enterprising French- 
man for the proposed ascents at Sydenham ; I most readily 
assented, but with this proviso, that M. Nadar should 
travel to St. Petersburg in his balloon. Mr. Boley was 
personally quite persuaded that the journey in question 



\906 Kt LtFE AKD 



I 

W iroiild be accomplisbed, and 80 I did not attempt to aigia 
w about it. I was on the point of going into Scotland, 
I when a. telegram arrived from Paris about the disastioiu 
P descent in Hanoyer, and requested that my next ascent 
from the Crystal Palace might be carried out according to 
previous arrangement, aa the Giant balloon would not be 
in a condition to eclipse the Mammoth balloon, at any 
rate, not quite so soon as expected. It -was to appear, 
however, at the Crystal Palace at no distant period, evon 
if it was there blown out with atmospheric air — of conise 
this additional information came by letter ; the progranune, 
however, so far as the " blowing out " went, was hterally 
folhlled, as the finely formed " Geant " was duly mended, 
and I remember gazing at it with admiration when it wss 
suspended in the Central Transept. At the same time, I 
could not stifle a firm conviction that another mishap was 
in store for it, and that something would surely happen 
ere twelve hours had elapsed. 

This fear was, as may be supposed, put down to pro- 
fessional jealousy ; I was asked to go beneath it, to giM 
upon its vast dimensions as it hang over head. 
" On no account whatever," I replied. 
"Why not?" 
"Because it will come tumbling down by runa be&rs 
many hours have passed." 

At least, that was my settled opinion, and having openly 

stated it, I was not surprised nest morning when Ifc. 

Henry Thompson telegraphed to say that M. Nadai*! 

y balloon had come down by the rtin during the night, jnat 

■ as I had predicted, and then, after the prophecy had been 




BALLOON EXPEBIBN0E8. 207 

fulfilled, everybody wanted to know how it was I felt so 
certain as to the event taking place, 

"It was simply self-evident," I replied. " The balloon 
had been hoisted up, and the net-work, instead of being 
allowed to embrace the lower part and thereby sustain the 
weight, was left hanging down and added two or three 
hundredweight to the silk, which was merely suspended 
by the valve." 

I really thought it would come down before it did, and 
I could at once perceive that the true principles of practical 
aeronautics were either not understood or wantonly defied 
in this affair. 

Subsequently it was suspended in a more ship-shape 
fashion, and attracted, for a time, considerable interest, 
but it did not extingaish the Mammoth balloon, as it 
never really ascended from the Palace grounds. 

Some two or three years later it passed into other hands, 
s ultimately wrecked at Cremorne Gardens. 
qodard's fire bai,loon, 1864. 
LG-odard made an ascent in his huge " Montgolfier," or 
'Keated-air balloon, from Cremorne Gardens in the presence 
of some thousands of people. From the same place, and 
at the same time, Mr. Adams ascended in a balloon called 
the "Prince of Wales," which was inflated by gas in the 
ordinary way ; but the two in point of size and appearance 
were out of all compariBon, and the interest of the specta- 
tators were almost exclusively eoncentrated on that of M. 
Godard, in reference to which, the other looked Kke a 
mere satellite. The vast difference in size between the two, 
might have induced the belief that the English balloon had 



i 



20b ut life akd 

been selected to set ofT by contmst the magnificent propoi- 
tioQS of its rival, which would not have been so strikbg, if 
my large balloon had been pat in comparison with it 
Still, the "Montgolfier" was an enormoas structore, and 
exceeded in size tho famous " Geant " balloon of M. Sadar, 
being 117ft. iu height, and 95ft. 9in. in diameter. It was 
pear-shaped, iind made of canyas, but not lined throaghont 
the inside with silk. It was ornamented on the outside 

' vith representations of the French eagle, and was encircled 
at about a third of its height from the top with a parachute 
arrangement, resembling the wings of a bat, and divided 
into twenty-four compartments. The upper part of the 

1 machine was sarroandod with a blue border, and from its 
Deck or lower end tho car was suspended, with the furnace 

, immediately above, the flame of which was visible from the 
earth as the balloon floated amoug the clouds, a dark gray 
mass, distinct in its elegant outline. The balloon itself, 
with all its appendages, weighed upwards of 4,G201bB., and 
its cubic capacity was 498,556ft. The car weighed 585lbs., 
and was upwards of thirteen feet in diameter. It was 
eorrounded by a rail, breast high. 

The fnrnace for inflating the balloon was placed in the 
centre of the car, and weighed, with the chimney, 3801b. 
It was 6ft. 6in. in diameter, and consisted of three 
cylinders, so arranged as to coanteraet the effects of the 
radiated heat upon the occnpants of the car, having also a 
metal colander inside the flne to intercept sparks from the 
fire below. The heated air for inflating the balloon was 
generated by burning rye straw, cleaned from the ears, and 
compressed into small bundles. For the purpose of in£a- 



BALLOON EXPEBIENOES. 209 

tion, the balloon was suspended from a horizontal rope 
attached to two masts, each upwards of 100ft. high. About 
three-quarters of an hour altogether were consumed in 
the process, which was watched with eager interest by the 
<5rowd. The stokers kept constantly feeding the furnace, 
in the interval, with the compressed straw, until the huge 
mass was completely distended. There was a brisk wind, 
^nd at one time the balloon swayed much to and fro in the 
process of inflation, and looked as if it would break away 
from its moorings. At length, all being ready, M. Godard, 
accompanied by several gentlemen, entered the car, and the 
balloon arose amid the enthusiastic cheers of the crowd. 
A moment or two before that, Mr. Adams, in his gas- 
balloon, had shot up into the air almost with the rapidity 
of a rocket, a proceeding which had a rather ludicrous 
eSeci in comparison with the stately ascent of the other. 
He soared to a great height compared with M. Godard and 
his companions, who appeared to be just at a convenient 
altitude for taking a bird's-eye view of London. Both 
balloons took an easterly course, that of M. Godard 
diverging rather more towards the north than the other, 
and both were watched with much interest by the crowd 
at the starting point until they passed out of sight. The 
Godard balloon descended on the marshes of the Biver Lea, 
near Walthamstow. It ascended again and proceeded 
from Mr. Boston's to Mr. Tasker's farm, where the 
grappling irons were thrown out and caught a tree. The 
balloon then swayed about with great violence against the 
tree, the branches of which it broke. Serious damage was 
done to the balloon and car. Some of the party in the 

14 



P410 MY LIFE AND 



I 

^M ear jnmped out &s it was descending, and one hadliiB: 
^1 Bprainod, while Knother was cnt about the face and 
^B not, I believe, serionsly. 
^1 Wlien the trial trip of this tire-baUooti came off on 
^ July '20tb, 1864, from Cremorne Gardens, the late Colond 
Bumaby ascended, and also the late Mr. Prowse, of the 
iJaili/ Tflcfjrapk. Mr. Norria, a famous amateur aeronant, 

I was also one of the party, I believe, and as all these 
gentlemen had freqnently ascended with me, I went to see 
them oS', as did Mr. Glaisher. 
I met Mr, Prowse during the evening of the ascent on 
his return to Fleet Street, and he read to me the following 
pleasing description of the first descent, which I here 
subjoin : — 
I "Three times already had the balloon passed over the 

Thames ; and when it was resolved to alight, M. Godard 
was over the Isle of Dogs. He had fixed his eye, however, 
npoD the East Greenwich marshes, as an open apace in 
which the descent could be safely attempted. Very nicely 
and skilfully calculated were his manoeuvres. Traversing 
the Thames at an exceedingly low elevation, the balloon 
just grounded upon the shore, within a dozen yards of the 
water. Distinctly to understand the fierce excitement of 
the next three minutes, it should be borne in mind that 
'the fire was still roaring merrily away; that the machinery, 
so admirable for its special purposes, would have caused 
sad havoc had there been anything hke a general upset; 
and that, at this particular moment, six men could exert 
very little control over a balloon capable of containing 
460,000 cubic feet of air. Touching the shore, the ballooa 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 



211 



e away, the big canvas flapping, the bright fire burning, 
lilst right in front rose a stone embankment. The 
wks were rough, and bad the travellers been novices in 
1 particular method of locomotion, we might now have 
wkward caBoalities to relate. Just before each 
mp, however, we mado a little leap, and thus baulked 
i force, as a cricketer to catch a ball draws back his band 
IBtead of protruding it. Still, with all these precautions, 
i was a nasty drive ; it occupied perhaps a minute — it 
med half-an-hour — and there was a strong inclination 
I' cheer when the threatening stones were passed. On 
V into a potato field ; another rise ; a wild tendency to 
np at a chimney ; a strong ' exhibition ' of restraint in 
e shape of a hundred sensible Englishmen tugging away 
i the ropes, and obeying the orders that were given — and 
e whole thing was over. 

" It is improbable that, as at present managed, the 
gallantly adopted by M. Godard can really help 
Srostatics as a science ; but it would be less than generous, 
I would be less than just, to conclude this notice without 
a cordial recognition of that gentleman's bravery and skill. 
He had to contend against many disadvantages ; he met 
them all in a spirit of cheerful good temper and chivalric 
self-reliance. It is to the ordinary gas-balloon that 
Mr. Glaisher still adheres as a means of prosecating his 
researches ; but the old ' fire-balloon,' with all its new 
improvements, adjuncts, and accessories, could not have 
been introduced to the English public by a more 
. deteimined, devoted, or courteous gentleman than 
, Jean Godard, aeronaut to Ms Majesty the Em^eiot 



of the French. This testimony to his signal merits I 
will be cheerfully endotBed by all who have ever shared \ 
hia perils — by the fire travellers who accompanied him 
yesterday, as by those who risked their lives with 
M. Nftdar." 



BALLOON EXPEBIENOES. 213 




CHAPTEE XI. 

SELECTIONS FROM THE BEMAINDEB OF MT LIFE. 

give more than a few of the frequent ascents made 
by Mr. Glaisher and myself is' all that I can now 
attempt. I would gladly advert to the scientific 
voyages and experiments, made year after year, but to do 
so I should require more space than is at my disposal. 
I must refer my readers, therefore, to Mr* Glaisher's 
admirable work entitled ** Travels in the Air," which 
combine the experiences of M. Flammarion and M. de 
Fonvielle, and also those by the Brothers Tissandier, who 
rank so high in aerostation. 

I will, therefore, glance chiefly at the next six-and- 
twenty years of my life, and in so doing I shall not show 
special favour to those ascents, which are, in a scientific 
point of view, the more important, as public and popular 
trips possess sometimes a larger amount of entertaining 
matter for general readers, the class to which I address 
myself. For these I have prepared a variety of selections 
which aim, if possible, at "ringing the changes," and not 
harping upon one string, which becomes too monotonous to 
be pleasing for those who have not been students in balloon- 
ing, but are nevertheless disposed to take a glance at the 



>tl4 



UY LIFE AND 



I 



robject if th/vy can be iDterested in its teachings snj 
in its followen. 

If tliere is one locality to which I shonld like ample 
space to advert, it is York, and although I believe that mj 
rcnsons for an earnest and afTectionate remembrance of this 
ancient City wonld be better liked by Yorkshiremen if I 
give them in my own words, still I wonld rather cohtcj 
them in this page by an extract from the Gardening World 
of Jnne 11th, 1887, as it le a delicate matter to speak of 
one's self In terms of eulogy. 

The article was written by Mr. Dean, who stood high as 
a judge and promoter of the Horticnltnral department sa 
well as the other attractions of the York gala. 

It begins with the first Exhibition in the year 1859, 
which had the approval and patronage of His Grace the 
Archbishop of York, and many of the noblemen and 
gentlemen of the Connty. 

" The grounds in which the fetes were held conld not be 
used without special permission. On the iirst occasion ^6 
band of the Coldstream Guards appeared and assisted at a 
concert given on the evening prior to the exhibition. 

"Mr, Coxwell made his first bulloon ascent from York, 
and a brass hand contest terminated the evening's amnse- 
ments. The fete was a decided saccess, the total receipts 
amounting to £1,262, and the committee granted 100 
guineas to the charitable institutions of the city, which 
Bnm was farther increased by the guarantors' genorom 
help. 

The distinguished patronage of Her Majesty and the 
late Prince Consort was, in the year 1860, thought to be 



BALLOON BXPEBIBNCE8. 



deeifftble, and Mr. John Wilson, the secretary, obtained 
this for tile society through the influence of the city 



" Mr. Henry Coxwell," the writer added, " waa engaged 
every yeai- up to and including the year 1886, bnt his 
retirement into private hfe at the close of last year breaka 
off the pleasant associations betwixt himself, the committee 
of the York Gala, and the visitors there. 

"Intheyear 1865, Mr. AldarroB.n'WaAe, The Lord Mayor 
in that year, accompanied Mr. Coxwell in the ascent, a 
most favourable one, and Mr. Wade is happily still living 
and taking an active part in each sncceeding gala. 

" The ascent'waa made in a new balloon, and the ceremony 
of christening was performed by Miss Wade, who was the 
Lady MayoreBS, the name of " EesGnrch " being inBcribed 
on it." 

A SKETCH 07 THE GALA THUB AT YOBK. 

In order that those readers who do not happen to be 
very well acqaainted with this part, may still bring the 
leading features of the rejoictnga before the mind's eye, I 
intend to offer one or two general sketches of the place and 
the people. 

A stranger arriving some years since to witness the pro- 
ceedings would have been particularly struck by the vast 
crowds of people who were all going in a northerly direction 
from the railway station, and were consequently showing 
the way to the field at Bootbam, where the gala has been 
for nearly thirty years invariably held. 

Everybody was running hither and thither to be present 

i the opening ceremony of the festivities, and to be as 



rS16 VT LIFE AND 

early as poeaible at tlie great flower-ahow while the bloom 
and fresliness were on the exhibits, and wliiJe, if possible, 
the judges and leading aristocracy were going thoir roun^ I 
of inspection, preTioas to the "masses " being let in on 
the following days. 

There were large prizes given, amounting to nearly 
£600, eo thfkt it was a big affair, as indicated by the 
gigantic tents, with their different shapes and contents. 

On emerging from the fruit and flower department, the 
aforesaid stranger would have seen before him a long 
feijade of tentw of another description, viz., refreshment 
booths, which extended nearly to the bottom of a ten-acre 
field, with lime trees on one side as well as a fine palatial 
reBidence at the end of the grounds, a glance at which 
building served to show that it was the County Lnnatic 
Aeylcm. 

There was a strange combination of temporary and 
permanent edifices, including a sightly round-looking dome, 
which was held up without poles or tackle of any kind, 
and enclosed within a circle of wooden barriers. 

" What on earth is that ? " 

" The balloon, the great balloon, Sir," was the reply. 

" Beally, and what a stupendons affair to be sure ; and 
that scaffolding beyond and the other devices ; what are 
they?" 

" For Mr. James Pain's fireworks, and for the trapeze 
performers." 

" Well, well ; and all those coloured waggons of yellow 
and red, with the stretches of galleries beyond ? " 

" They are the shooting concerns for rifle practice." 



BALLOON EXPEBIENOES. 217 

** And the stage there on the left ? " 
. '^ That is for the vocal, instrnmental, and theatrical 
people from London and Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle- 
upon-Tyne, who will appear and be duly marshalled at the 
appointed hour." 

** Bless me, and what was that I heard ? " 

" The Minster Bells." 

The bands were heard later on, after certain ofBicial 
looking gentry had approached the balloon. 

They consisted of the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, Com- 
mittee, Judges of the Fruit and Flowers, and the heads of 
the city, who were gathering, as was their wont, around 
the aeronaut just before the luncheon hour. 

A friendly greeting of the most cordial kind would then 
have been witnessed by the stranger. I was called from 
my active duties from beneath the folds of the balloon, 
and, after the entire party had paid their customary 
respects, I was formally invited by the Lord Mayor to ga 
in with them to luncheon. 

Among this group of townsmen were three notable 
individuals who had often ascended, and who were 
described to the inquisitive looker on as Mr. Tom Smith, 
Mr. George Browne, and Mr. Cooper ; they were Com- 
mitteemen, but, like Mr. Alderman Wade, they were not 
always within the gates or bars of York, as they now and 
and again laid aside their civic duties and went off a little 
in gala times, when, they were aeronautically inclined, 
and whenever I appeared on the scene, one or the other of 
them would not, as a rule, be far distant, for they were 
like-minded in this respect, altliough in matters of business 



UY LIFE AND 



F 

■ they were of different occupations, and it is don^btfiil 

^ whether in politics or other matters the; were at all agreed; 

yet no sooner did they enter upon aeronaatics, or assemble 

together during those interesting momenta which precede 

Ion ascent, than the most perfect harmony of sentimeiit 
prevailed ; indeed, they appeared to vie with each other in 
alluding to the delights of air travelling, and were regarded 
sfi authorities on the subject, and many were the questioQB 
put to them and answered, especially at the festive board 
when called upon to fight their battles over again, and 
invariably they did so to the delight of those who were 
near tbem, as were several when they drew np at the 
luncheon table, while the Lord Mayor, Sir Joseph Terry, 
took his place as Chairman. 

The stranger, who could have seen and heard through a 
aide opening in the Committee tent, where refreshment waa 
served, would have fancied at first, by the leiaurely way 
the guests had sauntered down, that their appetites were 
unequal to the occasion, but a» soon as the party had 
ranged np to the tables and grace been said, while an 
appetising odoar arose from the salmon and sliced 
cucumber, from the fowls, ducks, pigeon-pies, and lamb, 
which covered the tables in profusion, he would have found 
himself mistaken. 

We aeronauts were not so ready as several more earthly 
looking personages to open fire on the creature comfortsi 
and Messrs. Smith, Browne, Cooper, and your humble 
servant, had to run the gauntlet of some jokes as to our 

L being such ethereal beings ; tempting morsels, particularly 
the nicest dishes, were disappearing with alarming rapidity, 



Jk.^ 



■ BALLOON EXPERIENCES. al9 

when Mr. Browne and the others woke up from an aerial 
reverie, and, as if to repudiate the intimation that we 
could live on air, a splendid capon, which was keeping 
company witli a nice tonguej was soon cut up, and we 
began to make amends for lost time. Mr. Tom Smith 
catching the eye of an old knowing-looMug waiter, merely 
winked, when some of the choicest edibles were placed 
close in front of us ; another wink from Mr. Browne and 
wine appeared, and not long after Mr. Cooper, who was 
always more vivacious after a sip of champagne, added his 
part of the performance. 

Of course there were many toasts, and so forth, made 
from the Chair, occupied by Sir Joseph Terry, and the 
aeronauts were in due course called upon to respond. 

After these preliminariBa had ended, Mr. Cooper was 
called out of the tent, as one of the assistants who was 
left in charge of the balloon wanted to explain to that 
gentleman that there had been a row among the men 
during our absence, and that I and the Field Manager 
Mr. Cooper, had better come and see to it. 

We did so, but it was all about a trifle ; there were two 
rival parties among the thirty workmen whose office it was 
to hold the netting of the balloon, some were teetota]leT8 and 
others were not. These two classes did not agree, hence 
a fasB ensued, and one of the teetotallers was accused of 
stealing some food as it passed along to its destination. 
The matter was too absurd, but the assistant balloonist 
was very angry, and vowed that when he saw the offending 
Betotaller returning he would " have it out of him." 

Two policemen had overheard what had been stated, but 



rs9c 




'■9aO HT LIFE kSD 

the whole affair was pronounced a force. The 
however, as the accused passed him, made a chalk mark 
on his back, as much aa to imply that he wa.B scored, and 
iiien, the luncheon and dinner hour having passed, the 
bands began to discourse splendid music, tho sharp crack 
of numerous rifles was heard from the shooting places, 
the tenor and baas vocalists were seen to mount the stage, 
and the balloon had been fed so generously from the Isrga 
Bis inch main that it bad a goodly share of admirers, who 
had gathered several feet around the barriers, and all 
seemed to go to the satisfaction of .the visitors. 

There was something about one of the strangers wbieh 
commended him to our party, so that he was invited inside 
the enclosure, where he was ready to give a helping hand 
if asked to do so. 

Having given orders to loosen the hooks of the sand- 
bags 80 as to get the lower lines clear for attachment to 
the hoop, the assistant balloonist wanted some help to put 
on an extra bt^e ; the teetotaller, who was the personifica- 
tion of ofSciousness, rushed forward to make himself 
conspicnous, but he was eyed by the other with a searching 
and sly look. While the neck was free, the stranger, 
who had a pleasing face, was invited to have a look tip 
inside the balloon, a sight which he and one or two others 
enjoyed ; it was then that the teetotaller put his head in to 
have a peep, but those who understand these matters 
noticed that the assistant balloonist drew the neck well 
over his head, and a gust of wind at that moment driving 
the gas downwards, and no air being able to pass upwards 
to supply his lungs, the abstainer took in such a gulp of 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 221 

gaseous fluid that when his head was let out of chancery, 
as the movement was designated, he was seen to look 
uncommonly pale. He had to retire from the public 
gaze, and did not reappear that day, so that the vow 
made by the assistant "<o take it out of him** was literally 
to some extent carried out. 

Mr. Tom Smith noticed that the stranger had lost 
colour in his face, and asked him to the Committee tent 
to take some refreshment ; it there transpired that he was 
in need of such, as the gas inhaled while looking inside 
the balloon had produced nausea, and as he had not tasted 
food since he entered the city, he accepted Mr. Smith's 
offer. After this attention, the stranger made enquiry about 
the possibility of his going up, and he had fallen into 
excellent hands, as a ticket was procured for him by Mr. 
Smith, who stated that he was going himself, so that they 
returned together after a walk round the Flower Show and 
a chat with the bandmaster, for Mr. Smith was a great 
musician, and could play the violin and other instruments 
remarkably well. 

" We must not lose much time," he said, "for I 
perceive that the car is attached and my old friend 
IS m. 

As this was the half-crown day of the fete and the 
attendance composed chiefly of the dite, the aerial party 
was not numerous, but it was select, consisting of two or 
three visitors besides the stranger, myself, and the three 
amateur aeronauts. 

It was my desire, while we were suspended over York, to 
get up a short descriptive lecture from one and the othe 



HT LIFE OS 

jibont the magtuficeiit view which was mapped oat beneath 

(IB. We all were more or le^s coDtribators. 

The substance of what was aaid amounted to this : — 
How charming it was to look donn upon so ancient > 

city, with all the most striking modern embellishments. 

In gazing upon this scene, we wondered bow a balloon 

would have seemed at the time of the Koman occupation. 
" You can perceive, Sir," I said, addresBing the stranger, 
the city walls, the bars and gates, and beneath yon aee 

the beautiful ruins of St. Mary'a Abbey. That Utile stream 
it seems to us, wbiob stretches in a northerly direction, 

is the River Ouse, and there, gentlemen, we perceive — 

Bejaad in lofty MojeEtj, 

The Uimter Towere arise on Mgh. 

Fit tenpU of tho Deitj." 

"But we scarcely realize that poetic descriptioi 
observed the stranger, " from our present position, 
Minster only looks like a model." 

" True, but recollect the dimensions." 

" Five hundred and twenty-four feet from east to west," ' 
some one added. 

"And two hundred and fifty feet from north to south," 
cried another. 

"And the height of the roofs, both of nave and choir, 
exceed every other English Cathedral," said a third. 

"Most interesting," exclaimed the stranger. 

" And please not to overlook, gentlemen, that it is built 
in the form of a cross, and that further south we see the [i 
Bpirea of old Ebor's many churches." 

"I note the new bridge," said the stranger, " and bow ' 



BALLOON EXPEBIENGES. 229 

tiny that looks; what are the buildings to which I 
point ?" 

" That square tower built over a single arch, which you 
will barely make out up here, is Micklegate Bar; the 
other to which I am pointing is Monk Bar, so called after 
G-eneral Monk, the Hero of the Bestoration, and away to 
the west near the village of Holgate, down ;jronder, the 
Emperor Severus died, but it is impossible," I observed, 
" to distinguish many more of the buildings and institu- 
tions, as we are moving away and shall soon enter a 
cloud." 

" Where, pray, is your race-course?" asked the stranger. 

" There you see * Knavesmire ' to the south." 

" But," interposed one of our party, "you are pointing 
to York Castle." 

A laugh was now raised, but the stranger appreciated 
the point by laughing too, as he was very well aware of the 
use to which the Castle was now turned, and he hoped 
that none of us had either a friend or a relation there. 

A fine cloud was then entered, and after this pleasing 
transition was appreciated, we bore off towards Castle 
Howard and Malton. 

REPOBTEBS IN OLOUDLAND. 

Mr. J. Blenkin, of the York Herald^ said : — 
^^ The balloon ascent has been a judicious accompaniment 
of every gala which has been held in the city, and has lost 
none of its attractiveness, for round the substantial 
enclosure which had been constructed for the occasion, 
large numbers crowded to watch the progress of inflation* 
This was completed upwards of an hour before the time 



I 



UY LIFE AKD 

fixed for the ascent, and, as there was scarcely sufBcienl 
&t the time to flutter the flugs which in variom 
decked the ground, opportanity was taken to give t 
Bomber of partial ascents. Those desironit of taking 
short aerial trips, however, far outweighed in number &a 
time or frequency of ascent which conld be afforded them, 
and when the period for the permanent ascent arrired, 
scarcely a tithe of the applicants had been accommodated. 

"At length the occupants of the car, besides Mr, 
Coxwell, being confined to Mr. Tom Smith, Mr. Arthur 
ITiompBon, of Heworth, Mr, Ward and Mr. George 
Hobblothwaite, of York, Mr. Blenkin, of the Vork Herald, 
and Mr. J. Pearson, of the Yorkshire Gazette, & delightful 
Rscent was made, as usual, amidst the congratulatory 
cheers of those present- A slowieh progress was taken in 
precisely the same direction as that of the preceding 
evening, namely, S.S.W., and whilst remaining fully in 
sight of the spectators, illustrations were given of Mr. 
Coswell's semaphore system of war signals, 

" By means of four differently coloured arms, which 
were worked up and down by pulleys from the sides of the 
balloon, it was shown how information may be conveyed 
of the movements or stratagems of one opposing army to 
another. Though the progress across country was slow, 
that upwards was rapid, and very soon the aeronauts were 
informed that they had attained an altitude of 2300 feet. 
Here Mr. Coxwell, after drinking in lemonade the health 
of those present, commenced pointing out 
teresting features common to such occasions. 
of 8000 feet the bells of the Cathedral were distinctly 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 225 

heard, as also was the shrill whistle of the engine of a. 
train which, like a streak of light, appeared to creep its 
way towards the city. At ten minutes past six, when we 
were very high, the thermometer was declared to be two 
degrees below freezing point ; and about this time, in the 
presence of some difference of opinion amongst the 
aeronauts as to the names of places below them, they 
were facetiously informed by Mr. Coxwell that it was their 
privilege to get to high words, but they were not by any 
means to fall out. A number of clouds had been observed 
to the south-east, and it being the desire to enter one of 
them, sand was discharged, and at length, at an altitude 
of a mile and 300 feet, the balloon was wrapped in a cold 
vapour of such density as to entirely obscure all vision of 
things below. Songs, sentimental and comic, were 
indulged in, and to the inquiry of, ** Where are we now? '* 
a drop of about 1500 feet was made, and disclosed the 
situation to be over the road to Tadcaster, whither, a little 
to the left, the balloon was gradually drifting. 

" Over the village of Bolton, when at an altitude of 
2300 feet, distinct answers were given from below to 
questions put by the aeronauts. In the extreme extent of 
vision the course of the Humber had been observed on the 
one side, and the Cleveland Hills on the other, whilst due 
south nothing but a perfect flat was observable. Some 
remarkably pretty and novel effects were perceived in the 
playing of the setting sun upon the clouds which formed 
the horizon. 

" The fright which appeared to seize upon cattle and 
sheep as they pastured on the fields, and the singularity 

16 



■936 MY LIFE 4KD 

of their appearance from above as they scampered about, 
was a Boarce of coDsiderable amusement. At length Ha 
party were consulted as to where they would prefer to 
alight. Immediately below lay Grimston Park, and the 
well-known mansion of its hospitable owuer, and in the 
presence of this fact there coold be but one opinion as to 
where the journey should end. Mr. Coxwell, therefore, 
pointing to a clump of trees, which more like a patch of 
winter broccoli dottiug the landscape, remarked that he 
would drop within thirty yards of it, and in this respect 
he most religiously kept his word. With a nice regulatioa 
of the escape valve, the grapnel was brought to drag, 
and at once took a hold at the very spot desired, and the 
car of the balloon again touched earth even more gently 
than had been the ease in the partial ascents which hwl 



"Assistance at ouce came running in &om all sides, and 
though the noble owner of the estate was absent from 
home, a hearty welcome was soon accorded to the party by 
the Rev. N. G. J. Starton, of Milford Hall, the vicar of 
Kirby Wharfe, whilst the good-tempered features of Mr- 
Harris (Lord Londesborough's armourer), glowed with 
delight as be gripped the hand of his visitors. To diveet 
the balloon of gas, pack it up, and by means of a, convey- 
ance kindly tendered from the hall, to send it to the 
UUeskelf station was a task of speedy completion ; and a 
train happening to pass at the time, a return to the city 
and the gala ground was made by the whole party by 
about nine o'clock." ^^^_ 



BALLOON BI^OIIUEKCES. 227 

MY PBOFOBAL TO HOLD A FREE^UBONS' MEETING 
IN THE CLOCDB. 

Mr. J. Pearson of tbe Torkakire Gazette, alluded on the 
second day of the fete, to the carrying out of an idea I had 
for some time entertained, hat the reporter did not mention 
that we had a lady Maaon with us when the novel affair 
was spoken of ; any how, it was a fair voyageur named 
Mason, who went up and kindly christened the "York 



I must leave the rest to the Ckiel amang us, who was 
taking notes, and who printed them to this effect : — 

" To the fact that the balloon was new, reference has 
already been made, and as one of the fair aes in the 
person of Mrs. Mason was of its voyagenrs on Wednesday, 
to her was accorded the task of christening it. This 
ceremony was performed almost immediately before its first 
ascent, by the cracking of a bottle of champagne, which 
left the balloon with the futare complimentary title to the 
city, of ' CoKwell's York Express.' The capacity of the 
balloon was 60,000 feet, and v^ith fully this amount of gas 
it was inflated on both days. It may be added, that on 
Wednesday, it had been intended to have taken up a 
number of York Freemasons, to hold a Lodge of the Craft 
in the air, and then to have partaken of a banquet impro- 
vised for the occasion, but this was an idea which, unfor- 
tunately for the interest of the ascent, fell through, in 
consequence, as we understand, of some doubt as to whether 
such a proceeding would be constitutional. It is Mr. 
Coxwell's full intention, however, to carry out the idea at 
some early period, of holding a Freemasons' Lodge in the 



J 



92S arr ufe akd 

clouds. Mr. Coxwcll Ims now completed his 556th gsceiit, 
a fact n-htcii iB ila own t«stiinoaj as to the care and intelli- 
gence bo lias brongbt to bear in his practice of aerostation. 
Xb&n himself, uo other gentleman of his class has bad 
Huch important experimental scientific interests intruated 
to him in the company of Mr. Olaisber, and his ausaal 
retnm to the city will be gladly welcomed iu connection 
with future galas. Mr. Coxwell's next ascent in the 
* York Express,' will take place early next week from the 
Crj'stal Palace, Sydenham, by private arrangement with 
Captain F. Woodgate, of Norwood, London, who will be 
accompanied by hiu lady and a party of friends." 



BALLOON EXPEBIENOES. 229 



CHAPTEE XII. 

MY NEW BALLOON, ** BRITANNU." 

HEN the Daily Telegraph provided its numerous 
^JJ^ readers with those varied and entertai^ing letters 
on Luck, I could have furnished a small con- 
tribution as to lucky and unlucky balloons, but I thought 
it better not to introduce my speciality into the discussion, 
especially as I am not what may be called an absolute 
** believer " in this direction. At the same time I could 
easily mention several occurrences in my own experience 
which might be viewed as due to the favour of fortune, 
and, on the other hand, I could adduce facts which would 
certainly not be viewed with satisfaction by the votaries of 
the fickle goddess, but as I do not propose to argue the 
case here, I will merely state that I have had balloons which 
never attained any great age or elevation, although carefully 
designed and considerately used, and owing to adverse 
circumstances never had more than a limited amount of 
success. 

For instance, my balloons Sylph, Mars, Queen, Evening 
Star, and Mammoth, were the most lucky of my aerial 
fleet, as were at a more recent date the York Express and 
the City of York. But the Britannia, although she bor 
a glorious name, never made more than half-a-dozen 
ascents before she came to an untimely and ignominious 
end, and in a way, too, which made a great stir throughout 



S80 UY LIFE AND 

the conntrj, bat aa the nsiug generation will not bnor 
jnacb aboat this event, I may as well recapitulate the 
leading facta juat aa they were described at the time bj 
Diyself and another who was an eye-witness of what 
took place ; and as he had never seen mo or my balloon 
before, hi» teatimony ia of importance. 

BALLOON RIOT AT LBICESTBR. 

To the Editor of The Times. 
" Sir, — The wanton destmction of my new Britannia 
balloon, the burning of the citr in which Mr. Glaisher imd 
I have made all the scientific ascents, together with my 
own escape from personal injury, are matters sufficiently 
important for troubling you with an explanatory letter. I 
was engaged to ascend on Monday the 11th, at Leicester, 
the occasion being a grand demonstration of the Foresters 
on the racecourse, where about fifteen acres had been 
closed in, and & special enclosure made for the protection 
and inllation of my large balloon, jnat recently constructed, 
The subordinate arrangements were not, however, in 
harmony with the extensive preparations made before the 
Jete day. There was no barrier around the balloon, and 
there were, aa I beard stated in the presence of the Town 
Clerk, only eight policemen engaj^ed, and throughout the 
day I was often left to shift for myself without that 
assistance being received which belongs to so great an 



"Although 50,000 persons were present, I had to beg 
hard for a policeman, but it ia only an act of jnstice to 
Bclmowledge that, when one was sent, he proved a most 
efficient constable. Early in the afternoon a gentleman, 
reported to he a provinciaV BJiiotianlii, ^wio \\, wvi, "Oosi 



BAUJOOK BXPEBIBKOBS. 231 

llooQ then present was not my largest and newest 
Walloon, but a. small one. 

" This was a cruel libel, and aroused, I was told, an 
angry feeling among the visitors. The lack of policemen 
to maintain order soon manifested itself, for on a band 
entering the balloon ground, the boards were carried at 
once, and thousands of persons broke in and harassed my 
operations excessively. It was in vain that I entreated for, 
and that several gentlemen succeeded in clearing, an open 
space, the deficiency of strong barriers having afforded 
access, all subsequent attempts to stop the tide of human 
pressure proved unavailing. What made matters worse 
was the fact that before the ascent could possibly take 
place tbe balloon must needs be removed into an open 
space. Considerable time was occupied in pulling down 
the scaffold, poles, and hoarding, and those who promised 
to do this were found wanting when their services were 
most required. At last the balloon was taken out ; but 
here we were in a perfect sea of clamouring spectators to 
the number of 50,000 persons, no one appearing to under- 
stand that any impediment was offered, and yet everybody 
(lemauding an instantaneous ascent. A third difficulty was 
this — I bad agreed to a share arrangement as to the seats 
in tbe car, and those who had paid their money and 
obtained tickets pounced into the basket in such a rude 
unceremonious manner that all operations were stopped, 
and the passengers themselves were preventing their own 
departure. One person seated in my car was a disgrace to 
his town, as by his gestures and foul language, he excited 
the mob, and induced the belief that there existed a dis- 



S8S MT LIFE AND 

inclination on my part to ascend, whereas I was entreating 
for the opportunity of being able to do so with safety to 
those who entrusted themselves to my care. The presBDie 
of the mob was now bo great that my car was damaged, the 
network broken in several places, owing to persons hanging 
on to the lower meshes, and a bottle was thrown into tia 
balloon, which, by-the-bye, I was not aware of myself at 
the time. I now threatened that unless a ring were made, 
I would let out the gas, so as not to endanger the Uyes of 
my passengers, among whom were two ladies. As I only 
got abuse for my earnest appeal, especially from one or 
two in the car, I forthwith executed my threat. There 
were no doubt ai'onnd me the very scum of the collected 
thousands, but I ahonld he sorry to charge them vrith being, 
or suppose them to be Foresters. A few, however, certainly 
belonged to the order, as they wore the diatingnishing 
marks, and I could readily identify them. 

" Inspector Haynes and Sergeant Chapman were new 
doing honour to the police force, and were battling away 
manfully with the crowd. It was brave but hard work, for 
nothing short of the destruction of my balloon, and indeed 
an attempt on my own life, appeared a sufficient sacrifice. 
"While the work of demolition was proceeding. Sergeant 
Chapman led me away amid yelling and derison. My 
clothes were soon torn, and then the cry was raised, ' rip 
him up,' ' knock him on the head,' ' finish him,' &c., all 
of which would have inevitably been executed had I not 
followed the Inspector's advice, I was kindly sheltered 
ftnd protected by Mr. Stone, the Town Clerk of Li 
[hose residence ia near the race-course. 



BlT 



BALLOON EXPEBIENGES. 288 

'^ It soon transpired that the car had been made a bon^ 
fire of, the hoop, that would not burn through, was paraded 
in the streets, the balloon itself was torn to shreds, and the 
pieces sold at various prices ; and I verily believe that all 
this was attributable simply to a want of foresight in not 
providing sufficient policemen, to keep in check so large a 
gathering of Foresters. 

" I remain, Sir, yours obediently, 

''HENRY COXWELL," 

" Tottenham, July l^ih, 

BY AN EYE-WITNESS. 

To the Editor of The Times. 
" Sir, — Leicester has been the scene of a disgraceful 
riot, on the occasion of the Foresters' jete on the racecourse. 
Among the entertainments provided, Mr. Coxwell was to 
ascend in his balloon at 5.30. The arrangements for the 
keeping of the ground, however, were so bad as to preclude 
the possibility of Mr. Coxwell making his necessary, and 
of course, most important, arrangements. The temporary 
barriers round the balloon were broken down soon after 
2 p.m., and the dense mob rushed in, surrounding the 
balloon and setting Mr. Coxwell at defiance. But five of 
the police force were present, and their efforts were fruit- 
less and feeble in the extreme. Mr. Coxwell had a large 
party about to ascend with him, and they had to fight 
their way to the car. Mr. Coxwell, in my hearing, sent to 
the committe for assistance at least a dozen times, to no 
purpose. He wanted carpenters to remove the hoarding, 
but they were not provided. His position was difficult in 
the extreme. He, however, made an eff^ort, but the crowd 



UY LIFE ASD 



I 



■n4 

Bvlnog to the aetting, and ultimately broke it ; he got from 
Fthe enclosure still held by the crowd. He could get no 
desmnce ; one of the &iichors or grapplers was drugging 
persons to the ground, the car became partly detached 
from the b&Uoon, when Mr. Coswell opened the valve and 
^Allowed the gae to escape. As soon as the mob perceived 
ihis they rashed to the baUoon on all sides, clinging, 
tearing, and trampling, and then some brutal persons 
seized upon Mr. Coxwell, knocked his cap from his head, 
tore his coat from skirt to collar, and bustled him in ever; 
'direction. He was calm and silent. I lent him my bai, 
and called upon the police to protect him, which they tried 
to do. We conveyed him to the residence of a Mr. Northr 
where I left him. The police were embarrassed and in 
helpless confusion ; proposing the toll-house or anywhere, 
Mr. Coxwell wished to be taken to a resident justice, the 
mob following, execrating him in language too abominable 
to be repeated. I never witnessed such barbarous ignorance, 
baseness, and injustice, in my life ; I feared Mr. Cosvell 
would have been killed. I was knocked down thrice myself 
simply for endeavouring to defend him. 

" I would add, I never saw Mr. Coxwell before. I write 
this on the moment, as the experience of an eye-witness, 
and one anxious to do justice to a shamefully ill-used man, 
mobbed because he endeavoured to preserve the lives of 
the public. Previous to the attempted ascent, one poor 

t woman was removed to the infirmary with her back broken, 
and many others were injured. 
" I am. Sir, yours truly, 
I "A VISITOR TO THE FETE." 



BALLOON EXPERIENGES. 23& 

COMPENSATION FOB THE LOSS SUSTAINED. 

A local paper wrote as follows — 

** Gircomstances that have taken place during the last' 
few days, render it necessary to revert to the occurrences 
in Leicester, at the Foresters' fete, on the '11th July last- 
On that occasion, it will be remembered, that Mr. Ooxwell's- 
balloon was destroyed, its destruction involving, of course,, 
considerable pecuniary loss. The Foresters were applied 
to for subscriptions for the reimbursement of Mr. Coxwell^ 
but, as the rules of the Order render a considerable delay 
inevitable before the appeal can be made to them as a body, 
the result of it will have to be waited for. In the mean- 
time, subscriptions were made by some gentlemen of the 
town of Leicester, which were handed over to Mr. Glaisher, 
the chairman of the London Committee, on behalf of Mr. 
Coxwell. To these subscriptions were added a sum of 
£886 by Mr. E. S. Ellis, making the total amount from 
Leicester, d6500. Thus, it is evident, that public spirit is 
still existent in Leicester, in this, its period of unequalled 
prosperity, as it ever has been during the long ages of its 
history. But, though this large sum was promptly 
advanced by Mr. E. S. Ellis, it cannot be supposed that that 
gentleman will be allowed to bear so disproportionate a 
share of responsibility. The Foresters have their part to 
perform, and from their vast numbers, there is no reason 
to doubt that they will, as soon as their rules permit them 
to act in the matter, do it satisfactorily in every respect. 
Their first duty will be to repay to Mr. Ellis the sum he so 
generously paid over to Mr. Coxwell. That they will do 
this we cannot doubt, nor do we believe that they require^ 




MT LIFB IHD 




»ay prompting to do eo. However this may be, nnder any 
eirramstancea, Mr, Ellis must not be allowed to be the 
<u9'or<>r. If all other pnrtiee shoald fail in the performance 
of their duty towards that gentleman, his townsmen, we feel 
■oonTinoed, will take the matter in hand, and epeedily teBtiff 
their appreciation of the promptitnde with which he came 
forward at the crisis when his aid was required." 

MR. QLjUSHEB RENDEBS FBTENDLT AID. 

That gentleman espoused ray cause from the first, wliile 
Mr. C. J. Carttar, one of the coroners for Kent, acted as 
my solicitor, and made an eloquent speech at the Town 
Hall, which had a faTOurable influence on the Mayor, 
Mr. Ellis, and others. 

In London, Mr. Glaiaher formed a committee, and 
headed the list himseif, a handsome snm was also given 
by his friend Mr. S. W. Silver, who contributed most 
liberally. Dr. Corry, and others who had ascended in the 
Britannia, took up the canse in Belfast, and many of the 
officers of the Life Guards subscribed towards another 
balloon which was to be still larger than the lost one, 

I remember dining one evening with Captain Bnmaby 
And Lieutenant Westcar at the Horse Guards, while the 
latter officer was on duty. Mr. Glaisher was of the party, 
and while he and the late hero of Sondanese celebrity 
were gossiping, I went round the stables with Lieutenant 
Westcar, who was nearly as tall, though not so stout or 
finely proportioned as Captain Burnaby. 

The sentries had been relieved, and the fine helmeted 
fellows became to me the subjects of admiration. I was 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 287 

not feeling , particularly well myself and made some- 
passing remarks about health and strength, and went so 
fjEur as to say that I had no doubt that his aerial voyages, 
would be recounted in the course of conversation as well 
as those of Captain Burnaby's and other oflScers long after 
my time. 

** It is not at all unlikely," he replied, " that you may 
outlive many of us, and although Mr. Glaisher is tea 
years your senior, I fancy there is long life in him, and 
Professor Owen must have thought so too, or he would 
not have spoken as he did at the Newcastle meeting 
last year." 

This hopeful remark did me no harm, I recollect at the 
time, but I certainly never expected that we should see 
these noble-looking fellows out, and that we should both 
remain after their departure. 

ASCENTS IN IRELAND, 1864 AND 1865. 

The time has now arrived when I am compelled in order 
to complete my Life in this volume, to finish up with 
decades instead of successive years, a few typical voyages 
being compressed into as small a space as possible. 

It was not many days before the destruction of the 
** Britannia," that I ascended with that balloon from the 
Boyal Botanic Gardens, in Belfast. A cattle show was 
held at the same time, and this induced the railway 
companies to issue return tickets admitting the bearers to 
the Gardens and tiie showyard at reduced rates, the result 
being an immense influx of visitors. 

Every road leading to Belfast was thronged with visitors 



MY UFB ASt> 



\ 



IT 

^^njKgr oonceivablc deacription. The interest taken in 
^^^ Sbxt by the townspeople was just as great as ma 
-created in the country. A coDtinaotis stream of people, 
some on foot, othors on care, and others in carri^eB and 
omtubaseB flowed ap the road. The narrow entrance to 
the Botanic Gardens was soon blocked np, and the cmBhing 
And excitement were tremendous. 

It was nearly five o'clock before we got off. The 
occapants of the car, besides myself, were Captain 
Matthew Hale, Cameronians ; Captain Tnllock, 96lli 
Begiment ; Mr. Rowan, 62nd Regiment ; Mr. Alexander 
Porter, University Square ; Mr. Robert Singan, a gentle- 

Iman from Armagh, and Dr. Corry, Clarendon PlarCe. 
Idr. Alexander F. Herdman, Donegal Square, South, uid 
Mr. George Mc. Tear, junior, Carlisle Terrace, had to get 
■out as there was a stiff breze blowing from the west, but 
the "Britannia" rose splendidly, and took an easterly 
-direction. Nothing could have been more fortunate than 
the course taken for the sightseers in the gardens ; an 
opening in the treee enabling them to see the balloon, as 
long as it was possible to see at all. The descent was 

■ 'made at Lisdoonan. 

H In this trip we looked down on two loughs. It may be 
H noted that the elevation of Lough Neagh appeared very 
H much greater than the other lough, or indeed than what 

■ one was led to expect. The magnificent views that we saw 

■ all around us — the fertile valley of the Lagan, with the 
H -silvery river glittering through it, and the hamlets sleeping 
H quietly in the evening sun, formed a scene which caim^^^ 
K forgotten — as one of the passengers stated. ^^^M 



BALLOON EXPEBIENGES. 289 

A LEOTXJBE ON BALLOONING. 

The evening preceding our ascent I gave a lecture in 
the Music Hall, when the chair was occupied by A. J. 
Macrory, Esq. The chairman mentioned a circumstance 
of which he had been informed respecting the son of Mr. 
Glaisher, who was fourteen years of age when he ascended 
with us at Newcastle-on-Tyne. This intrepid youth asked 
his father for permission to make an ascent with him. 
** No, no," replied Mr. Glaisher, " the voyage is perilous, 
and you might lose your life." " But," responded the 
lad, " my dear papa, if there be danger I may lose my 
father, and you can lose but a son." 

The son did accompany us as I have elsewhere stated. 
Some years afterwards he came out second Wrangler 
at Cambridge, and is now the President of the Eoyal 
Astronomical Society. 

I cannot advert at any length to my lectures, but I 
ought to do so in order to be faithful in briefly mention- 
ing the chief events of my life, two of which were when I 
had the honour of lecturing before His Grace the present 
Archbishop of Canterbury, at the time Dr. Benson was at 
Wellington College, and before Dr. Bradley, the Dean of 
Westminster, when he was Master of Marlborough College, 
on which latter occasion Lord Tennyson and his two sons 
were present. But the most amusing, and to me the most 
extraordinary lecture I ever delivered, was to the deaf and 
dumb in the Oxford Street Institution, when the late 
Mr. Smith translated what I said with his fingers, and 
produced with astonishing rapidity wondrous marks of 
approval and interest on the part of the audience just as 



'S40 MY LIFE AND 

if tho assembled multitade had heard every syllable I 
attored. 

ABOENI OF MY NEW BALLOON " HE SEARCH," 

PKOM BELFAST, 1865. 

I lost no time in replaciug the " Britannia " by anotber 
and mnch more beautiful looking balloon, it was also 
conaiJerably larger, viz., 20,000 feet in excess of the 
" Mammoth," and the decorations alone cost an immense 
snm, being executed by a very clever artist named Foot. 

The first ascent I made with this balloon was fwm 

York, when the Lord Mayor, the atill living Mr. Alderman 

Wade, ascended with me. Captain Leslie and Lieutenant 

Weatcar of the Royal Horse Guards Blue, and the nbi- 

> ^nitons Mr. Smith, being my companions. 

I It ascended from the Crystal Palace also, on a vei^ wet 

day, and the same year was engaged for the Botanic 

Gardens, Belfast, where I ascended early in July, 1865. 

The ascent was a decided succeBs, but owing to my having 

listened to one, ont of a party of eleven, respecting a suitable 

place for landing, an hour had scarcely elapsed when we 

fonnd that a struggle for existence was at hand, and that 

everything depended upon the way in which it was fought. 

The light was a close one, but the wonder is that it did 

lot end fatally for more than one of the party. 

The following letter from Mr. Runge, a German, is s 

I fairly correct version of the trip. 

"To the Editor of the Ulster Observer. 
Sir, — Bo many contradietory and exaggerated reports 
he late balloon ascent having appeared in 
my name having been given as authority ft 



BALLOON EXPEBIENCE8. S241 



^^Koh I have not made, I conceive it my duty to state, as 
^^fts as possible, the actual facts of the occnrrence. Before 
^^nroceed with the account, I must say, in justice to Mr. 
^Hbxwell, that he has behaved throughont, under very trying 
ciTCum stances, in a cool and collected manner, and that it 
is my firm conviction that the unfortunate accident which 
took place, was not the consequence of his mismanagement, 
but occurred chiefly on account of the confusion caused by 
the excited interference of some of the passengers. When 
Mr. Coxwell proposed to descend, he gave to us the strictest 
instructions how to behave. He told us to sit down at the 
bottom of the basket, with our backs towards the wicker 
work, and to leave our limbs in an easy unconstrained 
position. He fore-warued us of the heavy knocks and 
bumps we should get, and told us we must not mind them, 
as it was a very windy day. On landing, he told us to get 
out one by one, and not to let go our hold of the car on 
any account, as the gas in the balloon was now compara- 
tively exhausted, and it had but little buoyancy left. In 
spite of Mr. Coxwell's injunctions, some of the passengers 
could not be induced to sit down. When the car struck 
the ground, and was carried along with great violence, 
knocking ns about severely, the excitement got intense. 
Some prayed aloud, others shouted to Mr. Coxwell to ' let 
off the gaa,' others cried out, 'We are all lost' in short 
they behaved in the wildest manner, losing completely 
their self-control. 

" Several of them now pulled at the valve-cord with 

great violence, and there appeared to be a general panic. 

We, who sat down, obeying Mr. Coxwell's commands, were 

16 



1 

I 



242 HT UFE AND 

trampled upon by the others, as if it were a stinggle for 

life. Instead of that it was a scramble, each man for him- 

self, the more powerful men thrusting back the weaker. 

Some of those getting out first abandoned their hold of the 

car as soon as they reached solid ground ; others, amongst 

whom was Mr. Coiwell, held on, but were obhged to let go, 

when the balloon, relieved of the weight of several persona, 

I rose again with renewed buoyancy. All this happened in 

I but a very few moments, so that when I climbed upon the 

I Bide of the basket) the balloon was at least fifteen feet high, 

I and I was left with a single companion, Mr. Halferty. 

■' Mr. Coxwell and some of the passengers tried to hold 
on to the cable, but their strength was not adequate to the 
task ; the anchor broke lose and o9' we went, rising to the 
height of about 1,000 feet. My companion said calmly, 
' the Lord have mercy upon us, our lives are lost ; we had 
better be resigned.' I was looking out for the valve-cord 
to pull the valve open, but could not find it. At length I 
I discovered it entangled in the netting. I pulled it, but 
alas ! it had no longer any connection with the valve. My 
companion, who saw me occupied with the cordage, asked 
me whether I understood the management of a balloon. 

"'No,' I replied, 'but if I did, it would bo of little 
avail, since the valve cord is broken.' 

" Abont the same time I discovered that we were again 
falling, so I called out to my companion to cheer up, thab 
^ we might yet be saved. We were gradually coming nearer 
H the earth, and the anchor was then striking the ground 
H &om time to time. I looked out for assistance, but could 
^Kcliscorer none in tlie moAratam ^tr^a-maw*. -^c vsfc^e. "Sawii 



BALLOON BXPBBIEN0E8. 243 

; over. At length I saw several men to wlioiii I 
shoutecl out for help. They, however, staring with vacant 
gaze, stood motionless like so many statuea. Onward we 
swept ; I saw another batch of men, to whom I made the 
same appeal, but with a similar result. Some remained 
motionless ; a man and a woman ran away at full speed, 
and one tall fellow actually dropped on his face, Btmck 
down by terror. Onward we swept ; then a fearful 
concussion of the car — the grapnel had caught. ' Prepare 
for a bump ' I shouted to my companion, and immediately 
the balloon surged down, and afterwards the car struck the 
ground, Mr. Halferty was pitched quite out by the 
violence of the shock, whilst I was thrown against the 
netting, and fell back again into the car. I tried to 
scramble through the ropes, but I was in an instant again 
hoose-high, for the balloon, relieved of the weight of 
Mr. Halferty, rose with renewed vigour. Mr. Halferty, 
although he had a heavy tumble, did not lose his self- 
possession, but immediately caught the cable and tiied to 
secure it, but his poor strength was of no avail. The 
anchor broke loose and away I went. I did not rise high. 
The balloon moved on very soon in a horizontal direction, 
straight towards the sea, which we were then rapidly 
nearing, at the height of about twice the length of the 
mooring cable. The thought had struck me several times 
to try by any means to make a rent in the balloon, for 
although I had no knife I might have torn the silk with my 
teeth. I climbed up a short distance, but then it occurred 
to me that as soon as the gas e&c&'^ed V\ie wxclt\«t-^<:]^£A. 
strike the ground again, and 1 skoxAi iiti^i "W ^'^ '' 




KY UFS AMD 

enpport the coDcaBBion while hanging in the netting, as I 

B suffering a good deal from the shocks I had anatained. 

I descended, therefore, into the car, and to my great rehef 

found that I was gradually coming near to the earth- The 

anchor struck the ground several times, but never held fast, 

scattering about the turf ancl stones like feathers. I saw 

some men working in a field, and shouted out to them, ' for 

God's sake help me, or I shall be lost ! secure the anchor.' 

" They understood my appeal at last, bat too late. 

Away we swept before them, the anchor ploughing up the 

ground several acres in length. Coming to a farm I 

ehouted out to the people standing there, the same appeal. 

Some women, with their qnick, humane instinct, were the 

first to perceive my danger, and exhorted the men to hurry 

to my assistance, they themselves rumiing as fast as they 

conld to tender what little help they might be able to give 

me. The anchor stuck in a willow-tree. I shouted out to 

the people below to secure the cable and anchor by ropes, 

which they did. The evening was now beautifully still, 

the breeze had died away, and the balloon was swinging 

calmly at her moorings above the farm yard. One of the 

men asked me whether I had a rope with me, or how I 

intended to get out. I told them only to take care of tie 

L cable, because the balloon would settle down herself hye- 

I and-bye. I was congratulating myself on a speedy escape 

1 from my dangerous position. I had not counted on the 

I wind; a breeze, in about six or eight minutes, sprung up, 

I tossed the balloon about like a large sail. A crash — and 

I — the anchor was loose ag,am. It tore through the trees, 

Kjfmgixig limbs andbranctes sftron^^^^'ta^'w^'Bft- ^^-SwwsSfc^ 



^ 



BALLOON SSPEBIENCES. 245 

tiie roof of the farmhouse, splintering the chimneys and 
tiles like glass. On I went ; I came near another farm, 
shonted out for help, and told the men to secure the 
anchor to the foot of a large tree close by. The anchor 
was soon made fast, but this was only a momentary relief. 
The breeze again filled the half-empty balloon like a sail ; 
there was a severe strain on the cuble, then a dull sound, 
and a severe concussion of the basket ; the cable, strange 
fatality, had broken ; and the anchor, my last and only 
hope was gone. I was now carried on in a straight 
direction towards the sea, which was but a short distance 
ahead. The anchor being lost I gave up all hope. I sat 
down resigned in the car, aad prepared for the end. All 
at once I discovered that a side current was drifting me 
towards the mountain, the cai struck the ground, and was 
dashing along at a fearful rate, knocking down stone fences, 11 
and breaking everything it canae in contact with in its wild 
career. I think I must have gone at least at the rate of 
ten or twelve miles an hour. Almost certain death seemed 
before me, yet to jump out on this passage would have 
ensured my being dashed to pieces on the rocky ground 
beneath. I was tossed about in the basket as the peas in 
a child's rattle, and cannot comprehend at this moment 
that my hones were not all broken. Bye-and-by, the knocks 
became less frequent ; we were passing over a cultivated 
country, and the car was, as it were, skimming the surface 
and grazing the top of the hedges. I saw a thick hawthorn 
hedge at some distance before me, and the balloon rapidly 
sweeping towards it ; that was my only chance— I rushed | 
to the edge of the car, and &Tmg -nigft^ ^.tyHii. ■Q?it«i.'&«k 



JU6 VY LIFE AMD 

bc^ge. I expected a severe tumble, but had a mild M. 
The car did not, as I feared, strike me, but the moment I 
left it rose over my head. I sbd down geutlj on the other 
side of the hedge. I rose on my feet, and then tried eveiy 
limb. They were whole, and I need not describe mj 
feelings at this almost miraculous preservation. When I 
looked up I saw the balloon soaring majestically over the 
sea, froia which I was about a quarter of a mile distant. 
My strenrrth now almost forsook me, my lips were parched 
with thirst, and it was with pain and difQculty I was able 
to walk. I was almost too weak to climb over a little fence. 
Seeing some people at a distance, I tried to call for 
assistance, but my voice failed me, and I could not speak. 
I descended the hill slowly, and walked towards the httle 
village of Wftterfoot. As I went along I regained soma 
strength. The good people of Waterfoot were full of 
kindness and sympathy, and I acknowledged their good 
tact, as, instead of importuning me by too much curiosity, 
they left me quietly to repose. Whilst I was lying up 
stairs on a sofa, a gentleman from Ballymena inquired for 
me, and kindly offered me a seat ou hia car and a bed in 
his house. I rode on with him to Ballymena, where I 
arriyed at midnight, I was most hospitably received by 
Mr, and Mrs. Patterson. It was there that I met also my 
late companion, Mr, Halferty, who bad heard of my resciie 
and came to inquire after me. Altogether my solitary and 
not uneventful journey through the air occupied I think, 
about three quarters of an Lour, and the distance I travel- 
led cannot have been loss than ten miles. 



" X am, ail, ■jo^h o\>fti!\feiA wsvhmA-, 

' Sows "^ftsi-swi ^ic^tas.? 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 247 

"Greenock, Jvly 5th. — A message has been received 
this morning from the chief coast officer at Bowmore, 
Islay, intimating that a balloon wa^ found on Laggan 
shore early yesterday morning, in which were four top- 
coats and two hats, filled with sand ; also, a piece of a 
newspaper, headed Northern Whig, Belfast, 1st inst. No 
person was found in the vicinity." 

Mr. fiunge's description of the way in which the last 
two passengers re-ascended is not exactly correct. 

It was just at the moment when they were down and 
being trodden upon, that I gave the order for all hands to 
jump out while the balloon was dragging over the ground. 
I quite thought that I was the last to spring when the 
" Research *' very slowly went up, which I could have 
prevented if the valve line had not been pulled down by 
two or three persons tugging at it — no wonder it gave 
way — our escape was indeed astonishing, and Mr. Runge's 
was something more, it was clearly throughout a Provi- 
dential rescue, the iron-bound coast and a boiling sea being 
at hand and our pace being faster than described. 

I had the " Research " back from Scotland in many 
pieces, and ascended with it after elaborate repairs were 
executed, but I should not have decided upon carrying 
these out save for the circumstances under which the 
balloon was paid for by subscriptions from Leicester and 
London, as well as Belfast and elsewhere. 



ME LIFE AND 



CHAPTER XIII. 

WAS BALLOONS AND A SEW METHOD OF FILLING THEM. 

fERY importaot are the interesting esperiuients in 
this direction, which took place at Fiirstenwalde, in 
the presence of Colonel Swaine, C.B.j and the 
«faief of the Balloon Department of the Prusaian army. 
They aaggest at the present moment a retrospective glance 
at this subject, as the English aeronauts are not, I sboald 
Bay, far in adyanuo of their Continental rivals ; it ia, 
perhaps, donbtful when we read of this new method of 
producing gas, whether English aeronauts are not behind 
&e Germans, so that it becomes a (question whether we have 
not devoted too much time and attention to the revival of 
old plans instead of inventing new methods. 

It appears to me that if we refer to one noteworthy 
application of the balloon in warfare, we shall perceive 
that, BO far as a really useful survey goes, we have not 
„progreased much ; certainly vre have not surpassed, even if 
Tve have equalled, the exploit to which I will refer. 

I have been lookiEg over an article which appeared more 
than a quarter of a century since, and which shows that on 
the field of battle one of the old school of baUoonista 
rendered more service to the state and to the army 
employing his balloon, than any modern discoverer s^^ 
r can call to mind. ^^H 



i -J 



t. 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 249 

It may not be uninteresting to allude to the event, as it 
is of historical value. 

After the Austrians had crossed the Mincio with their 
whole force, and then re-crossed it with 200,000 men, they 
fixed the contemplated surprise of the enemy at nine 
o'clock in the morning. 

"The Emperor of the French," said The Times, 
"representing the juvenile irregular force, refused to be 
surprised; he sent a man up in a balloon, and, at the 
expense of a few yards of silk and a few square feet of 
gas, is told the exact position of all those masses which 
are drawn up so scientifi^cally out of his sight with the 
intention of surprisiag him at the comfortable, leisurely 
hour of nine a.m. 

" Napoleon m. attacks at daybreak, chooses his own 
time, and remains master of the field." 

The civilian aeronaut was M. Godard, but whether that 
balloonist was liberally paid for his useful services, I am 
not able to say. 

It is not very long since that the Italians figured most 
creditably with a British bullock-skin balloon in Abyssinia,, 
and had a really useful survey of their opponents. 

Most galling must such deeds as these appear to Joha 
Bull. We can imagine him pointing to Alexandria and 
Tel-el-Kebir, enquiring as to the absence of balloons, and 
asking about the work accomplished at Suakim. 

It is true that at the Bed Sea littoral, balloons ascended, 
and the gas was conveyed from Chatham ; that was excel- 
lent work, but the wind has since been taken out of our 
sails, and the Italians know quite a^ TDLU<fitL^i<5rt\^'s»k^y5j^ 



I 

I 



' SfiO UY LIFE AHD 

aideration probably, and they have operated farther south 
with British maoufactared balloons, which brings ns to 

r inqnire who really first invented this style of balloon. 

I I hsTe shown in the first volume of my experiences that 
Urge and small skin balloons were made in London more 
than fifty years ago, and I can vouch for it that Weinling, 
senior, made two cigar-shaped skin balloons for me in the 
year 1860, and that the original balloon imparted the 
principle which was explained more fully later on by the 
maker. 

The two sidn balloons which the elder Weinling made 
for me were precisely similar in size, but not in substance 
or appearance. One of these balloons was much stouter 
than the other, and was put together on a difi'erent 
principle. I Found after careful examination that it was 
the keystone to the arch, and that it revealed one of the 
secrets as to how skin balloons were made ; this plan was, 
I found, essentially difi'erent to the way in which silk or 
cloth balloons are constructed. 

How I came to obtain this original production was in 
this wise : — I had been exhibiting a model made by 
Weinling, which I was about to direct and steer in the 
Crystal Palace ; the machinery part of this balloon, with 
the screw propellers, were designed by a Mr. Steward, 
an ingenious amatenr aeronaut, and some time afterwards 
I required a duplicate balloon for lectures, and one that 
if possible, tighter, as the slightest escape of gas 
would not do in a limited space where ladies would he 
present, bo that I said " never mind appearances ; what I 
want ia a gas-tight eVong&lei '^eKiw>'». "^^ lfc^H,\ws^Vi 




BALLOON E^ERIBNCES. 251 

nearly four in diameter ; in fact, the size of the one yon 
have supplied me with as near as can be." 

"If that be the case," said Weinling, "just come along 
with me to Mr. Herron, the dealer in toys and skin 
balloons at the Crystal Palace," and there I was shown 
one apparently of the same size, but it was dusty and had 
been placed on one side in a drawer. 

Well, this was more of the bladder or bullock-skin 
substance, and I asked if I could have that. 

** Yes," was the reply, " but I should have to pay 
double for it." I took it, however, at his own valuation, 
and when I came to examine it minutely, I discovered the 
plan of its construction. 

Of course, I am not going to disclose what very little, 
probably, I know about the making of skin balloons, but 
that there are secrets connected with their manufacture, 
I feel certain, and from what I was informed of the process 
of preparing and uniting the skin, I have no doubt but that 
considerable skill is required, not only in commencing, but 
in completing this kind of material. 

The Prime Minister, in his reply to Lord Wolseley's 
remarkable speech in the House of Lords, used these 
encouraging words : — " We are deeply sensible of the 
debt we owe to experts, and how carefully we should 
consult and weigh their opinions." 

In ballooning there are not very many persons who are 
entitled to be considered experts, while on the other hand 
there are several who have resuscitated original ideas 
which have been for a time obscured or lost, so far as 
public recollection goes. 



352 U7 LIFE AKD 

The plan of usiiig compreBsed gas is not wholly novel 
Medical men aad others who have used for many years the 
Nitrons oside gas, condensed in portable iron cylinders, 
mast be aware of this, and those who have seen bow coal 
gas is pressed into receivers for use in the undergroniid 
railway trains, must know that a first principle, and tbe 
practical application thereof, are totally different things 
altogether. 

I have no desire to detract from the merit of conveying 
gas to distant parts in this fashion, although the German 
aeronauts consider that it ia unsafe, owing to the efiects of 
sudden changes of temperature. 

Dr. Majert, the distingnished chemist, and Lieutenant 
Kichter, have produced on the spot, in a more simple and 
mneb quicker way, the required inflating power, to be had 
&om an apparatus which can go whereTer a field gnn can 
be dragged, and it will bo forthcoming two hours after a 
certain heating process is set to work in what is called the 

IEntwickler, which has, above a furnace, several parallel 
layers of retorts, into which are thrust cases like railway 
carriage warmers, filled with a viixture of zinc dust and 
hydrate of Ivne, which is speedily converted into hydrogen 
gas. 

Should this answer, it will simplify and expedite the 
process of filling. 

The most recent news in reference to tbe conveyance of 

k hydrogen gas in tubes, appeared in Galignani's Messenger 
of May 24tb, and is the hrst intimation X have had of a 
war balloon being filled in England by civilian bands after 
ie method ado^pled ty ora ■cfi\\\\:M'j 




BALLOON EXPERntHCKB. 



iragraph is to the following effect: — "The war balloon 
|Bookwood' made an ascent from Swansea racecourse 
eently ; after crosBing the Bristol Channel safely, it 
inded at Simonsbath in SomersetsLire. An air cnrrent 
at first carried it inland, but ultimately it returned. The 
balloon was inflated with pure hydrogen gas from tubes 
which had been charged at Birmingham and conveyed to 
Swansea." Professor Baldwin informed me that he haa 
used hydrogen sent iirom Birmingham. 

Since these remarks were penned, poor Mr. Joseph 
Simmons met with a terrible disaster at Ulting, near 
Maldon, in Essex, on August 27th, which unfortunately 
terminated in his death. This daring and experienced 
aeronaut had with him in his wirework car Mr. W. L. 
Field, a photographer from Brighton, and Mr. Miers, of 
the Natoral History Museum, South Kensington. These 
gentlemen were both injured, aud it ia much to be feared 
that the'entire structure of the balloon "Cosmo" was of 
a weak and imperfect character. The netting, it was said, 
appeared to bo too thin, and the meshes too large, they 
were not sufficiently numerons for a balloon of 63,000 
cnbic feet capacity. Then the valve was so small that the 
gas did not escape quick enough after the machine became 
anchored in a tree ; when at last the network gave way the 
balloon itself broke through, and the wire or chainwork 
car, together with aa iron hoop, fell heavily to the ground; 
bad it been made of cane and wicker, the aeronaut and his 
passengers might not have been seriously injured. Mt. 
SunmoaB bad crossed the ChaoneV m^ ^\t QJis-^i&iB ^R- 




Crespigny, and with otb«i passengers, several timea 
during the last few years of his career. 

A PBESEHTATIOK. 

An illuminated address from the Committee of the 
York Gala, was presented to me at the Imicheon in tlie 
year 1882, the following is a copy : — 

■' Dear Sir, — The Committee of the Grand Yorkshire 
Gala in meeting you on this, the twenty-fourth anniyeraaiy 
of your balloon ascents from the ancient City of York, 
desire respectfully to offer for your acceptance this per- 
manent regard for your personal character, and of the 
high estimation in which they hold your professional 
services, not only as adding to the pleasure of the many 
thousands who have witnessed from the gronncia in which 
we are now assembled, but in promoting the interests of 
scientific research, as attested by your memorable ascents 
with Mr. Glaisher, and other occasions of the highest 
scientific value and importance. 

*' During the many years yon have been associated with 
the Grand Yorkshire Gala, you have never disappoinUd 
U3, and for this we feci that we owe to yon our heartiest 
and especial thanks. We earnestly trust that this 
Association may yet be long continued, and that it may 
please God to bless the declining years of your life with 
all the solace and happiness which you could for yourself 
desire to enjoy. 

" Signed on behalf of the Committee : — Joseph Tebei 
(Chairman), Edwaed Bwosa (yice-Gftairmajj), Jobefs 
W1LKIN6ON {Trmmrtf), Sohs "^meo^ \,&eCTe.Vw^V 



BALLOON EXPEBIENGES. 265 

FORMING A GERMAN BALLOON CORPS. 

In the summer of 1870 Mr. S. J. Mackie, C.E., who 
was well acquainted with scientific ballooning, called on 
me to ask if I would go to Cologne with two of my 
balloons for the purpose of raising a detachment of 
military aeronauts. I accepted the offer, and found that 
an American balloonist had also been engaged for a similar 
object, but this gentleman's services were to be devoted to 
experiments of a tentative character with his fire balloon, 
while my endeavours, as may be presumed, were confined 
to the principles and practice of ascents with gas balloons. 

We were each appointed to separate stations at two of 
the government gasworks, situate some distance apart, but 
as the Montgolfier plan, which was simply dependent upon 
heated air, did not succeed, the fire balloon was then 
transformed into a gas balloon ; the time, however, 
occupied *in accomplishing this work so delayed the pro- 
ceedings that this part of the programme was abandoned, 
and I had to proceed with my assistant, Mr. Barker, to 
carry out a series of captive ascents. These were satis- 
factory to the commanding officer, who frequently issued his 
orders to inflate and go up, notwithstanding fresh winds, 
so that the various tests were at times no child's play ; but 
as I was accredited as an experienced instructor, the 
officers were ever ready to face all dangers, and they 
acquired information in a proper, legitimate way, instead 
of picking it up from outsiders, and trusting to their own 
performances without competent teaching. 
During one of these ascents 1 aaN<i ^ke^ \»x^\si ^■wes^^'^is^^ 



fifi6 MT LIFE AND 

oontained the Emperor Napoleon, who was proceeding, 
after the battle of Sedan, on his way to captivity. 

In Cologne, where I had previously ascended in the yeor 
1848, I met an old friend who knew Mr. Abraham Kiipper 
of Elberfeld, this was no other than Herr Director Pepys, 
of the town gasworks, an influeDtial personage, aad well 
known to the commandant and the authorities ; throngii 
the kind attention of my countrj-man, Mr. Pepys, who 
was a typical Englishman, we got over many difficulties as 
to going up in stormy weather, the risks of so doing being 
fblly explained in a way which proved convincing aud 
satisfactory. 

As my balloons were disposed of to the German Govern- 
ment, I returned to England to fulfil engagements and to 
repliice tliose which had been sold ; my assistant, Mr. 
Barker, on the other hand, went to Strasburg with the 
newly-formed corps, and one balloon was used, but owing 
to the capitulation the services of my representative were 
not further needed. 

The instructionH I had given, however, were not lost, as 
may be gathered from the present efficiency of the Prussian 
Military Aeronauts, who have now their own entirely new 
system of generating gas on the spot, and who do not 
imitate other nations, but invent for themselves. 

A FRENCH AERONAUT AND HIS WIFG AT SEA. 

In the year 1874, M. Duruof set out from Calais on 
August 31st, with the intention of crossing the sea to 
England. The weather was not favourable for the under- 
taking, but the aeronaut had been taunted with cowardice, 
and this naturally offeniei Xio'fiii.'^.'^^tcNuA 'ij.-oSi.\iv& -wSa.^ 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 257 

who were at their hotel, and they left the table abruptly, 
saying that they would show the people of Calais that they 
were not afraid to die. The car was hastily attached to 
their balloon and they ascended at 7 p.m., with only a few 
bags of sand, and were soon out of sight over the Channel. 
They drifted about all night, and in the morning were 
over the North Sea. They had been ten hours in the air, 
and were two hours dragging through the water. At last 
the captain and mate of the smack ^* Grand Charge,'* 
reached them, and they were rescued, but the balloon sped 
away towards Norway. In London, and, indeed, through- 
out the United Kingdom, great sympathy was evinced 
towards the Duruofs, and I was glad myself to oflfer them 
the use of one of my balloons to enable them to ascend 
from the Crystal Palace, where several passengers paid 
well for accompanying them in their trip. I took care that 
this sum should be added to their other receipts, and 
altogether they did fairly well before returning to Paris. 

I had also the pleasure of making a collection for the 
brave fishermen who saved them from a watery grave, and 
of forwarding to the Mayor of Great Grimsby a considerable 
sum for their benefit. The late Colonel Burnaby was one 
of those who ascended from Sydenham on the occasion, 
and was delighted thus to contribute towards the restora- 
tion of the lost balloon. 

MY LAST PUBLIC ASCENT. 

In many respects this was one of the most singular of 
my experiences. It was made on June 17th, 1885, the 
eve of Waterloo day. About this time there waa «» y^Ujr^ 
accident not tar off, and an eartiliqualsifi ^o(^,^\sl^^'^^^^** 



258 MT LIFB AND I 

in York, bo that the "omen" party were consideiately " 
tendering waminge to "mind what I was abont"; and 
these occairences might have kept back some of the more 
snperstitioaB &om attempting to explore the skies, bnt to 
mo they afiforded an opportanity of conspicuonsly illna- 
trating the safety of aerial Toyages when compared with 
terrestrial journoya ander difiBcnlties. 

The York Herald stated that, " Distinct shocks of earth- 
quake were felt at Pontefract, Knottingley and Ferry Bridge, 
at the latter place the inhabitants were rnnning oat of their 
dwellings in fear, articles even, falhng from shelves, and 
walls rocking for a brief period. The ehock was felt at 
York and other places, and there was also the railway 
accident not far from the Gala groands, so that those who 
jonrneyed a moderate distance from the earth's surface in a 
balloon, were probably in less actual danger than many 
who considered themselves perfectly safe below." Whether 
this idea created any fear as to the seismic wave causing 
fresh roiling of crockery, and of other chattels being 
materially damaged, I cannot say, bat the candidates for a 
journey aloft were very nnmerooB dating the ffete, which 
lasted three days. 

I myself, ascended on the first day, and the following 
gentlemen accompanied me, — Major Allenby, Brinkworth ; 
Mr. W. Coates, Helperby ; Messrs. Armstrong and W. 
Heslop; I forget whether Mr. George Browne and Mr. 
Cooper ascended on that day or on the following. The 
Minster bells rang out a merry peal as we started, and one 
of the military bauds struck up the tune inseparable fi-om 
a balloon ascent, " OS aiie &oe*," kiA \iaJs. "^ -ii 



. ^ 



BALLOON EXPEBIENOES. 259 

little of that audacity which is so frequently met with in 
i}hese latter days, by pretending to be a steering aeronaut, 
such an attempt would have passed muster, for it is a fact 
that the balloon made very nearly a circuit of the York 
suburbs, owing to a cyclonic movement of the atmosphere, 
and this enabled the ** City of York '* balloon to perform a 
stately and ceremonious farewell greeting, which was 
admirably suited to the occasion. 

Next day, and the evening following, Mr. Thomas 
"Wright, the well-known Crystal Palace aeronaut, became 
my deputy, and acquitted himself in first-rate style. That 
gentleman had kindly and efSciently assisted me on some 
previous occasions, taking charge of my balloon, and com- 
mending himself to the committee and to the visitors no 
less than to the aerial voyagers, by his straightforward 
conduct; he has, since become a regular yearly attendant 
with balloons of his own, at the York Gala, and is ably 
supported by his friends Mr. Lewis Hammett and Mr. 
Dale, who have both had considerable experience in 
hallooning ; so that with their united efforts this feature of 
the entertainment is not likely to fall into the hands of those 
who are incompetent, or who have not deserved to succeed 
as Mr. Wright has done, both as regards his dealings with 
me and the Directors of the Gala. 



HT lilFB AHD 



APPENDIX. 



I 



0BO8SIKG THE ATLANTIQ WITO A BALLOON. 

fHE first proposal to undertake thia daring feat was 
made by Mr. C. Green in the year 1840, and his 
scheme, as ontlined on paper, contained a reasonable 
amount of forethooght and calculation. 

The experienced aeronaut expressed himself ready to 
give his services gratuitously, if there should be found 
among the wealthy patrons of his art persons sufficiently 
disposed to favour the attempt. But such were not forth- 
coming in his day and generation, so that Mr. Green 
finished his vocation by journeying overland, and died a 
natural death in bis bed. 

That an expedition of this character would prove costly 
has, since the veteran's time, been practically ascertained 
by enterprising men in America and France, who have 
actually prepared equipmenta, without, however, up to the 
present time, having committed their aeronauts to the 
real oceanic test, so that it is, after all, a matter as yet of 
mere theory, and the respective aspirants have not entered 
npon any preliminajj fi\^te o-^et ^fe&\, ^tcJufJiaa of sea 
(Bay one sixth of ttie 'bTee.SA'h, tA -Oaft fe^'iN».-oS\t ^csk^^-s, 



BALLOON ESPEBIENCES. 



I 



^■York to Ireland), so that their confidence mast be great 
• or they never would risk their reputations and snbject 
themselves to the shafts of ridicule, which are almost sure 
to pursue and be the fate of those who seriously pledge 
themselves to do a certain kind of deed, and then either 
break down in trying to carry it out, or, what is infinitely 
more stupid and ignoble, never seriously attempt it. 

At present, therefore, owing to the absence of any note- 
worthy or reliable start over the broad waters of the 
Atlantic, we can only read, mark, and meditate about the 
programme offered for inspection, and by compariBon, 
together with the exercise of common sense, judge which, 
all things considered, is the best and safest plan — if safety 
be in any way an admissible term for work which, by a 
general consensus of opinion is allowed to be extremely 
uncertain and perilous. 

Although Mr. Green's plan was never tried, it deservesi 
irom an aeronautic point of view, to stand in the front 
^■Taok, because it takes into consideration the different 
^patmo spheric changes and conditions which would be most 
likely to present themselves, aud also because we get in 
figures the effects of expansion in proportion to the 
elevation attained, and these correspond with inches in 
barometrical measurement, which will astonish many 
persons, and some few aeronauts probably, who little 
suspect what an impoverishment of the gas goes on from 
the time a balloon leaves the earth, not only from leakage, 
bat from large volumes which are forced out of the safety 
yalve owing to diminished pressure of the air, and (yiictl^ 
as the balloon riBes into apace. 



I 



8 Vrt LIFE AND 

TbiH most imporbtnt factor clearly detnonBtratea that if 
Ibe bttUoon moants very high, with the idcia of rising IdIo 
zua« of nir wliicli ia preatimed to blow in the desired 
'dircctiou, tlie loss of gas will be something enormoQB eres 
■t thv output of tlie voyage, in order to obtain a favourable 
place ID th« fiasteru current. 

AllAwing that Mr. Green's comjiutfttions are correct, it 
if moHt desirable to remember that when a balloon, say of 
80.000 cubic feet capacity gets 3000 feet high, it Idbbs 
8000 feet of its gaseous contents, an enormous percentage 
even supposing it was fully charged at starting ; this 
rsBiUt is in consequence of three inches of pressure being 
removed, a condition of things which demands an equiva- 
lent of 28S pounds of ballast by way of compensation, so 
that if excessive elevation is to be attained on a long trip, 
the stock of gas is seriously impaired by the primary effort 
to seek a suitable current, and as a balloon mast rise 
higher and higher every fresh curve it makes, the exhaustive 
process must go on with sure and rapid strides, so that 
the life of a balloon, so to speak, cannot be of long 
dnration unless some such plan as that proposed by Mr. 
Green is adopted to obviate the necessity of going very 
high. 

Across the hoop to which the netting is secured, and 
&om which the car is suspended, he intended to have a 
vrindlass to haul in or let oat a rope of 2000 feet in length, 
and to the lower extremity of this a namber of small 
vaterproof canvas hags were to be attached, with their 
apertures kept open by means of small linge of suitable 
material fixed in such a manner that when drawn through 



BALLOON EXPEBIENCES. 268 

the water the entrance of the fluid would be free, but its 
return would be impossible ; between these, and at stated 
distances, a number of small conical copper floats were to 
be disposed so as to serve the purpose of supporting the 
length of the rope when it reached the water in consequence 
of the depression of the balloon. When the lower portion 
of this rope descended, it would rest on the surface of the 
sea, owing to the buoyancy of the floats, and would lighten 
the balloon of its weight, and still keep it from rising very 
high in the event of a slightly varying distance from the 
water, caused by change of temperature. 

As to how long ^^this recovery of position would be 
maintained is another question, depending upon the con- 
dition of the balloon, and the state of wind and weather, 
which might interfere with such delicate contrivances, 
especially if it came on to blow hard, when these fragile, 
but ingeniously conceived, machines might prove of little 
use, and the aeronauts might meet with the fate of 
M. L'hoste and his companion, M. Mangot, or of the 
Belgian military aeronauts in their recent attempt to cross 
the Channel, although their balloon was not lost in the 
angry waters before they could be rescued. 

This regrettable disaster showed that appliances which 
are all very well in theory, and which may do in the air, 
are utterly useless when brought in contact with the 
rough sea. 

As Mr. Green's plan was never tried, it is impossible to 
say how it would have succeeded ; in a moderately still 
air current it's action might perhaps have been in accordance 
with his expectation, but in such a wind as would appear 



n LDIE uto 



r 

^Blo be Et^nifirte Cor aoaang the Atlantic, I should entertain 

^H 4oobts B> to ftOT latiflbietorT result. 

HsTing explftined the menus soggested for preserring 
the KsoenBiTe power of his balloon, it now remains to 
mllikde to ihe direction of faer coarse. To govern Qna Mr. 
Oteeo did not propose the nse of any kind of ateering 
^puKtns or propelling power, he relied upon taking 
sdnatage of the natnraJ carrents of air which, according 
to bis own ohserrationB, and those of nautical men, skilled 
in Uie ioTestigation of the meteorology of the Atlantic 
Ocean, jngtiSed him in depending opon an air current 
snfGciently favora-ahle for the purpose. 

He believed that there were two distinct classes of 
cmrents — one that governs the motion of the atmosphere 
in its higher region, and the other which produced the 
strata more immediately contiguons to the surface of the 
earth and the sea ; he had always noticed uniformity of 
the wind at a certain elevation, varying occasionally, but 
always within 10,000 feet of the earth, blowing from the 
west, or rather from the north-west, and though he did 
not assert — and this is most important for M. Jovis to 
remember — that such must be the case over all portions of 
the terraqueous globe, yet he thought that a conditirai not 
very dissimilar may characterise the more elevated regions 
throughout their whole circuit. 

That there are seasons when the wind blows from certain 
quarters long experience has distinctly proved ; but it does 
not always happen, as we know by the deviation of the 

H atorma which have had a'definite route forecast, and which 

^■^er all change to an extent snfGcient to upset the 



1 






BALLOON EXPEBIENCES. 265 

sanguine hopes of those who rely upon unswerving 
accuracy in a tolerably direct line, and may not prevail to 
bring a balloon towards the shores of Great Britain. 

Mr. Green suggested a water drag to check the speed of 
the balloon should the wind change, and a number of 
imitators have fathered this as well as many other devices, 
but how the canvas drag would act in a heavy sea, and 
what the behaviour of the balloon would be under such 
circumstances we cannot yet determine from trials on the 
Atlantic waves. 

Green furnished his imitators with the excellent idea of 
starting from the American instead of the English or 
French side, the air currents being more constant and 
reliable from New York to Europe, than from our country 
to the American Continent. 

After his declared readiness to attempt the voyage, there 
followed, in the year 1873, a counterblast from over the 
water which was equally, if not more pretentious, though 
it came from men who were far less entitled to notice than 
the British champion balloonist. At first, one Donaldson, 
an actor, who had turned aeronaut, endeavoured, about 
fifteen years since, to procure means in Boston, U. S., to 
enable him to cross the Atlantic in a balloon : he failed in 
this, but his effort attracted the attention of the managers 
of The Daily Graphic, who soon after contracted with him 
and Mr. Wise, a better known and more scientific man, to 
make the experiment. The Graphic people, we are told 
by Mr. S. A. King, himself a well known aeronaut, undoubt- 
edly, went into the undertaking in good faith. They were 
led to believe in the existence of a constant easterly air 



I 

I 

t 



Wo MY LEFB AND 

current, and were mistakea in believing it possible to 
maintain a balloon long enougb to make the voyage snccesB- 
fol. They placed at the disposal of Wise and Donaldson 
more than the amount stipulated for, as neeesBary to 
construct the apparatus, and every requisite was provided. 
The balloon was constructed and despatched from Brooklyn 
in a strong gale setting directly oceanward, bat M'ise had 
declined to go as expected, and Donaldson ascended, 
accompanied by two representativea of the Graphic. The 
balloon rose to the height of a mile, but over the eastern 
extremity of Long Island, it encountered a storm moving 
northward, and it finally descended in New Canaan, 
Connecticut. The boat they carried on this trip weighed 
nearly two tons. 

Mr. King, the American aeronaut, whose interesting book 
gives particulars of his proceedings, snceeeded in inflating 
the huge Graphic balloon, and Donaldson poasessed the 
courage, but not the judgement for such an experience, i 
he might have succeeded, it was thought, in making a 
voyage of at least a thousand miles by sea instead of 
five hundred over land. 

The Graphic held an enormous amount of gas, and ii 
addition to the passengers, and a most ample store o 
pronsions, clothing, and other aceessoricB, carried the 
sea-worthy boat ah-cady mentioned. She was despatched in 
a gale of wind blowing due enet on the morning of October 
6th, 1873, and had she been in charge of a more skilful 
navigator, would have made a much longer voyage. 

On a later occasion, June 2Srd, 1875, Donaldson ascended 
with a smaller baWoon, taVio^ -w^ftv "torn. '&.\^ \ifi^-*K«,. 



BALLOON EXPEBIENCES. 267 

They were carried out over Lake Ontario, and finally 
through loss of gas, descended to the water, through 
which they were dragged, clinging to the ropes for many 
miles, and were finally picked up by a small boat from a 
passing schooner. 

The death of Donaldson in a lake on July 15th, 1875, 
is an impressive commentary on the perils of a transatlantic 
voyage, and may have an instructive bearing on the subject 
under consideration ; he had ascended from the Hippodrome, 
Chicago, at 5 p.m., and was accompanied by Newton S. 
Grimwood, of the Chicago Evening Journal, who had 
disputed with another reporter for a seat, and whose fatal 
lot was decided by the toss of a coin. The balloon held 
88,000 cubic feet, and departed with about 800 pounds of 
ballast. It rose to the height of a mile and floated to the 
north-east, over the lake, at the rate of fifteen miles an 
hour. At 7 p.m., the Little Guide, a small craft, sighted 
the balloon ; it was then occasionally dipping its basket in 
the lake, only a mile and a half away. The schooner 
headed for it, but before it could overtake it, there seemed 
to be a sudden lightening of the car, and the balloon shot 
upwards to a great height and soon disappeared. This was 
the last ever seen of it. That night a terrific storm swept 
down upon the lake. How the two men met their fate was 
never known, but on the 16th of August, the body of 
Grimwood was found on the east shore of Lake Michigan, 
near Stony Creek, and it was fully identified; his boots 
and hat were missing, and around the body was a broken 
life preserver. Of Donaldson and the balloon no trace has j 
ever been discovered. 



I 



SSS MY LIFE AND 

In the year 1878-9, Mr. S. A. King wag mstrnmental in 
forming an Aeronantical Society, and during the winter, 
the whole field of aeronautics was carefully explored mth 
a view of ascertaining the most feasible plan of proceeding 
on a transatlantic voyage in a balloon of hia own 
constraction. An Aasoeiation was formed to enable him 
to enter upon the execution of his plans. The New Ymk 
Herald editorially commented as follows. 

" The hitherto insuperable difficulty of sustaining a 
balloon at a great altitude against the loss of lifting power 
by leakage, the increase of weight by absorption of 
atmospheric moisture, by contraction at low temperatures, 
gradual loss of ballast, and so forth, Mr. King claims to 
have overcome. Having thus, as he believes, secured hia 
ability to keep up, he proposes, in due season, to attempt 
to cross the Atlantic in the air. Certainly, Mr. King has 
solved a very important factor if he can keep his balloon 
afloat for a month at a time. It is significant of the hand- 
in-hand march of science, that this aeronaut dednces, from 
the continued sacoesses of the Herald in predicting the 
arrival of storms on the European coasts, the certainty of 
traversing the Atlantic on the same aerial path as those 
atmospheric disturbances. "What directs the storm will 
direct the balloon, since the balloon is the slave of the 
wind. 

"A discovery like that, now so fully tested, of fore- 
casting the path of stonus, continually opens up still 
greater possibilities, and the establishment of aerial 
commnnication with Euio^e, fantastic as the thought ha^ 
appeared to the fhongb.fte'B*, Ha ows ft«i.*t-ns».i -wfii. 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 269* 

a fascination for the pioneers of science. We shall watch 
the growth of his project with lively interest.'* 

After making the most elaborate preparations some 
hitch must have occurred about the start, as I have 
never yet heard that it was made, so that King in the- 
New World, and Green in the Old, besides Donaldson^ 
Wise and others, have acted as pioneers in designing 
different modes of ballooning the Atlantic, and now it 
appears Captain Jovis has come forward with his own 
peculiar and special design, " to do the thing or perish in 
the attempt ; '* and when a practical man, who is no 
novice in the upper regions, and who has given proof of 
not being afraid to face the sea, proclaims his intention 
positively to cross, it fully entitles his solemn pledge to 
careful attention, although it is devoutly hoped that the 
literal execution of his plan will not only be delayed to 
the fall of the year, but that many succeeding falls may 
pass away ere the intrepid Frenchman and his five com- 
panions venture well out upon the Atlantic. 

Some points of resemblance to the American manifesto 
may be seen in Captain Jovis* composition, which has 
little of the style and caution of Green about it. Thus 
we notice a ** life-boat in the rigging," which is essentially 
nautical, though in opposition to everything aeronautical. 
Then a car on a novel principal has a ring of Nadar about 
it, when he resolved to build one like a house or cottage. 
This car of the sea captain's is not to be round, as they 
generally have them in France, but ** roughly square," 
and divided horizontally by " a wooden de«k" ^^s^^^^^^sssSa. 
will rise a gnarter deck, and \>eiie%Ai}cL >3aft^ ^^^'^^ *^2^^ ^^ 



HY LirK AND 

tbiee little berths, and the bottom of the car below the 
deck will aerve ae a hold for stowing away ballast, thoagh 
most aeronauta fiiid it necessary to have ballast close at 
hand and ready for use. The quarter-deck and deck are 
connected by a ladder, above them is a rope ladder leading 
to a third deck of netting, and beyond to the balloon itself. 
' ' And suppose you lose your fins," asked the interviewer, 
as if he thought there was something estremely fishy 
about the descriptive outline. 

" We are not done for then," cried M. Jovis, " for here 
fastened to the back of the quarter-deck by davits, hangs 
a tiny lifeboat fitted with oars, sails, and a compass." 

The Captain was invited to declare himself still further 
in his ovm interesting way, the reporter wanted informa- 
tion about the wind that would be depended upon for the 
voyage. 

"How shall I cross?" "In one of your Herald' 
atorma," was the reply to the representative of the famous - 
New York newspaper. "I espeet to make seventy miles 
an hour and to land somewhere in Norway or Sweden, 
three, or three and a half, days later, unless I can mana^ , 
to touch terra jirma in Ireland. 

Evidently in the exercise of a fertile imagination M. ; 
Jovis was well up in the supposed two mile high current) 
and seemed ethereally to be bowling along at the rate of. 
_ countless knots, and vividly indulging in an aerial dream 
■ ■ which would land him jnst where his inclinations tended. 
^B These charming and almost seductive airy wanderings 
^ft might well bring the aci&iAw^^. "Swjft,'^'es»fefet qE the 
^■Jjjstitnte, to utter a ^lote^ a^ »■ -^Mmii^, 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 271 

That gentleman explained, *' that by going up into the 
lofty regions, of the cirri, the balloonists might chance to 
catch one of the currents in which the storms are formed, 
which traverse the Atlantic between America and Europe. 
He, however, pointed out that these currents go very slowly 
at first, and do not acquire velocity until they reach twenty 
or thirty-five degrees of north latitude. The journey there- 
fore, supposing that it could be accomplished at all, would 
take from ten to twelve days, instead of three-and-a-half. 

" Moreover the currents do not go directly towards the 
northern parts of Europe. After the parallel of ten 
degrees, they proceed slowly towards the West, but at 
thirty or thirty-five degrees they go straight towards the 
North, according to the season, then incline towards the 
East, and finally branch ofif to the North-east. The storms 
and cyclones which are formed in these lofty regions would 
be fraught with terrible peril to the balloonist." 

This protest does not appear to have discouraged M. 
Jovis and his party; but there may yet be one more potent 
drawback, so far as regards the sinews of war, or the 
200,000 firancs needed to complete the extraordinary pre- 
parations. A balloon of 750,000 cubic feet capacity, even 
if made of double cotton, costs a large sum, to say nothing 
of the net-work, fantastic car, wonderful valve, and 
unequalled varnishes, all of which will swallow up a vast 
amount. In this country the cost has arrested the progress 
of all colossal attempts, and expenditure for such objects, and 
to such an extent, would never be forthcoming in England; 
but it is truly astonishing hoYf b^oon ^ii\i^T^T«^^^ %x5^ 
supported in cozmtries less rich, ftiaii ova^. G;x^«cl^^*^2c^^^- 



I 



272 m UFB AND 

worthy m&n when once the cash was placed before him, 
never met ffith encouragement for a, transatlantic voyage, 
in all probability he would not have made the trip to 
Nassau in the year 1836, had it not been for Mr. Robert 
Holland, M.P., who fitted ont and originated the expedition. 
The Proven(;al Captain seems to be generonsly patronised 
in the pecuniary part of the baainess, and to have the 
confidence of volunteers ready to place their lives at his 
disposal, and if he errs in his calcnlationa, they, like the 
leader, will have to risk the consequences- 
It is devoutly to be hoped that the life-boat will be in 
good trim, and that she will right herself in whatever form 
(head or tail) she takes the water, and that the last con- 
necting link — the let-go line — will be simply arranged, for 
if once this ponderous mass makes a plunge with a seventy 
mile an hour wind, all hands will have to be prepared for 
a rough time of it when the boat reaches the water. 

But is it not possible for dauntless air travellers to 
succeed ? Or could success be attained by resorting to 
other and leas cumbrous accompaniments ? 

These are qnestiona which have been put as an appeal 
to ray private opinion, and I do not consider that it ia 
altogether right to withhold my views. I shall, however, 
broach them guardedly, lest I might, to ever so small an 
extent, cast an encouraging glance where a serious frown 
would be a more kindly act to any person wishing to run 
such great risks, not pmely for the benefit of science, 
or even the advancement of ballooning, but for fame 
without the more ennobling motives which should stir the 
energiea of practical aeronauts into that kind of activity 







A,c;-o,v, i.F.NOX AND 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 278 

which cannot be very well disapproved of, that is, unless 
people set their faces against any and every kind of 
atmospheric investigation and experiment. 

If there is, in ballooning, one striking feature more 
than another that I have observed with regret during the 
last thirty years it is the number of gigantic machines 
which have been constructed, more especially in France 
and America. These appear to have been designed and 
employed solely for vain-glorious and mere exhibitive 
objects, without at any period of their career having been 
used for meteorological, military, or navigating purposes. 
There was the great captive balloon in Paris, which might 
have done useful work by ascending for military objects by 
day during the Franco-German war — ^well, what did they 
do — or rather what did they forget — while engaged in a 
pleasurable daily sight-seeing ? It is said that no less a 
sum than iG40,000 was expended over that magnificent 
structure, which, had it been kept for the purpose of 
reconnoitring and signalling when the Prussian girdle was 
closing in upon the devoted capital, might have proved 
a more profitable and useful machine than it did. 

Before this M. Nadar, a great and popular figure in his 
way, was engaged in trying to solve the problem of flight, 
and conspicuously praiseworthy were his eflforts — ^but what 
was the final outcome of his labours, and what was the 
end of his great balloon, which, so far as size went, was 
equal to the greatest of undertakings ? 

Then in America, as I have describedUn this volume, 
there was the monster balloon Qfrapfcic ; ^^hfl^t dii d:\A ^ 
in the cause of science? Or t\i© "Viugj^ <!«5^b«^ \i!^^5ira^^ 

18 



1374 



UT LITE iSD 



I Batterses, which broke away, and like the rest I have 

I reforred to, never left any indelible mark on the annals of 

I science ; and these, like some of the Atlantie-crosBing 

I balloons which have posed for public approbation, never 

I were known, and indeed never attempted to be mixed up, 

eo far as I can remember, with one useful or acientifie 

undertaking, but their repntation rested entirely upon 

their proportions, tbair appearance, and their capacity for 

administering pleasure and gratifying cariosity. 

Now if it could be shown that crossing the Atlantic in a 

' balloon, or the hazardous trial of skill and endurance in 

< 80 doing, was likely to prove of service to the state or to 

k any branch of modern art, then there might be some 

f excuse for seeking to enlist the sympathies of the public 

in its behalf. Suppose that Khartoum in General Gordon's 

time had been aeparated by a great gulf of water, and 

I that he could have been ballooned away homewards through 

I the iustrumentahty of an ascent just while the British 

army was within touch of tLat great and doomed man — 

I do you suppose that the balloonists would have met with 

I discouragement on the ground of risk to themselves? 

I "Wby I do not beheve that oven Mr. Gladstone himself 

I would have objected to save such a precioos life even by 

I means opposed to military etiquette, or would have pleaded 

that the general had better be left to his fate. 

The reader will at once perceive what kind of thoughts 
• pass through my mind, and I will further simplify and yet 
I emphasize them by saying, that if an attempt to cross the 
kiAtJantic had been bYo\3ig\i.\. \,o ■One iciYe,-^Qi!.^, ms.'j aeven at 
Wgbt and tvrenty yeaia amee.^isAoTfe'OQfi'Q.T's.'tft^Mwv- 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 275 

from America had been sent, and while that country was in 
the throes of civil war, and, to pursue the thought, 
supposing that some patriot warrior, or man of science had, 
during these eventful times, come to London to seek aid 
from the old country, there would have been some 
reasonable ground or excuse for crossing in a balloon in 
spite of all protest and peril ; and had such an attempt 
been made, I for one, would have identified myself in some 
way or other, with such a public-spirited, patriotic voyager. 

In the year 1871, when so many Parisians fed upon 
hard fare and even rats, I was asked by certain influential 
persons to co-operate in trying to get into Paris, letters, 
&c., for the inhabitants. I was on the point of taking out 
some balloons to endeavour (in conjunction with two French 
aeronauts), to start from Lille and other places outside the 
German army, to be in readiness when the wind set fair for 
Paris. The balloon would then travel on an air-path sixty 
miles long by three or four miles broad, allowing the latter 
for the diameter of Paris ; and if the hit or miss trial had 
failed, then another sixty miles, so as to clear the German 
army on the other side of the capital. The total distance 
would thus not have exceeded 120 miles altogether, and 
this would not have presented an insurmountable obstacle, 
even if a spice of danger had been encountered, such as 
would have been justifiable for the purpose of helping the 
distressed, or the promotion and interests of science. The 
capitulation, however, stopped this novel departure in aero- 
nautics, but I mention the matter as an illustration to 
my argument. 

As an aeronaut, I have leNieweSi \Jafc ^oiji^'CJL^'e* ^\ *^^^^ 



ptmflkiail niMiy and I liaro not dufrniBed the daagew 
irtiidi would i^pear to be insepanlile tram lengthened 
wjBges. If Ibe queetioii iveie put to me as to wh^iber 
I dMNiId he ampiifled to hear fluit a haUoon had crossed 
the t^tiantie, lahoold aay, '< Tes, I am surprised/* but I 
Befer held it to he impossiUe, and never stated as mneh, 
and I win mention nhy I have shown that aerial voyages, 
both in height and extent, depend npon the state of the 
atmoephere at ihe time they are undertaken. One day it 
is possible to go 100 nules with a moderate expenditure of 
ballast, and no very great loss of gas, but on the next 
oeeasion, to aeoomplish a like distance, three or fonr times 
the amount of gas and sand may be necessary; and so it 
is as r^ards height, for thick clonds, excessive moisture, 
with occasional bursts of sunshine may vary and alter the 
chances of success ; but I fail to see, so far as the declared 
intentions of M. Jovis go, that the real and probable 
difficulties are thoroughly grasped. If with a balloon of 
over 800,000 feet capacity, and a lifting power of 59,400 
pounds he meets with moderate winds, fine weather, and 
pursues, what I should briefly term, the tactics of an 
aeronautic expert, then I should not be surprised to hear 
that he had kept jogging along and touched land, but if he 
selects a storm to start in, and disregards other disturbing 
influences, the efiects of which he may not have foreseen, 
then his journey may not be half way across the ocean ; it 
all depends on the modus operandi, as well as the gas 
used, and the tightness of his balloon. 

General Brine, in a lecture he gave after Sir Claude de 
3respigny had preceded him in crossing the English 



BALLOON EXPERIENECS. 277 

Channel, stated that, *' of the twenty-three aerial travellers 
in thirteen different balloons connected with these trips, 
five were lost or killed ballooning, one (Colonel Burnaby) 
was killed in action, seven were picked up by vessels, and 
nine are still living, including Mr. Monck Mason, born in 
1803, and himself." 

This is not a very flattering report for the serious perusal 
of one who meditates a voyage of over 3,000 miles. 
Green's trip from Vauxhall Gardens, when he and Monck 
Mason regarded the Channel as a mere river, and swept 
over it almost unco^sciously, showed the difference betwixt 
laboured efforts and a stately transit, unaccompanied by 
dips, and picks up, which are not particularly reassuring 
for a vastly more extended trip. True it is that the 
balloons used were small, while Green's was large, still by 
General Brine's own showing, Channel ballooning is not 
such easy or safe work, but there is a way, I feel certain, 
in which the difficulties of this kind of ballooning may be 
very considerably reduced, but it is for every one who 
desires to increase his professional knowledge in this line 
to follow and stand fast by his own plans, and not to 
imitate those of other people. 



i 



THE BALLOON ASCENTS OF 1888 



fN taking leave of the ndmirors and pramotera of an 
art, which I have endeavoured to portray in its tros; 
colonra, I shall be e:specteil to say a few words by 
way of conclusion. 

Frequently throughout these pages referencea have been 
made to the delights of air travelling, aa well as to tha 
dangers inseparable from this mode of conveyance, 

I have represented both the bright and the sombre side 
jast according to my own experiences, and without, it is 
hoped, laying extravagunt stress on the roseate part of tha 
subject, or of describing too minutely the risks enconatered. 
during rough weather, and these results certainly ought 
not to be omitted in a volume which is designed to 
truthful as well as instructive. 

It is devoutly to be hoped that ardent young aspirant 
will not forget, before they embark in a pursuit of thij 
kind, to take note of the teachings of my book, and m 
to be impressed with the idea that ballooning can b( 
followed for any length of time without meeting wii 
accidents while journeying through our atmosphere, t1 
capricious character of which I have faithfully depicted. 



MY LTFE AND BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 279 

During the past summer numerous ascents have been 
made in weather, which, aeronautically speaking, has been 
of a mild, although abnormal character, strong winds 
having been the exception and not the rule. 

Fatalities, however, have occurred, and we cannot fail 
to notice the almost total absence of military and meteoro- 
logical experiments as a set off, to some extent, to mere 
sensational exhibitions. 

The public taste appears to have been invited to — and to 
have rejoiced in — exploits which have not contributed very 
much to the dignity, advancement, or useful application of 
aerostation. 

There have been no lack of daring and defiant perform- 
ances. Professor Baldwin's parachute descents have taken 
place, with one or two exceptions, under remarkably 
favourable auspices. In his last trip from the Alexandra 
Palace, when royalty witnessed the concluding descent, the 
balloon appeared to hesitate, half way up, as to her course, 
and actually stood still between the Prince and the Palace 
as if a near and majestic drop were the right sort of thing 
for this special occasion. 

It was the most pleasing illustration of the so-called 
jump, but, of course, the tranquil air, and not any guiding 
power, caused the lucky parachutist to alight almost at the 
feet of the Prince and Princess of Wales, whose congratu- 
lations were warmly bestowed. 

Well might such patronage stimulate Mr. George 
Biggins, a British rival, who had just made a first success- 
ful essay, to tread closely upon the heels of the clever 
American. Mr. Higgins has shown at Coventry and 



r 



I 
I 



280 MY LIFE AND 

elsewhere, that one Briton, at any rate, can emulate the 
series of parachute drops which have proved so attractive ; 
be maBt be content to further win his spurs before he weara 
them, and mast not forget that he &ai others will have a 
great deal of up and down work to surpass Baldwin's 
achievements ; but it is only fair to the Englishman to 
say that his lead off from the Greyhonad Crardens, Lea 
Bridge, and from Leicester, were most plucky, as strong 
winds prevailed at the time. 

Mr. Higgins has had the advantage of a good trainer in 
the person of Mr. Arthur Orton, whose balloon " The 
Eagle," bore a suitable name for an iuternational parachute 



It is said that other experimentalists will appear next 
year to try their hand even if they do not display aptitude 
in this branch of ballooning. 

When, however, we thinJi of Miss Dare's performanoea, 
as well as those to which alluBion has been made, we 
ought not to shut onr eyes to the ghastly episode in Ottawa) 
and in Esses, It is to be hoped that a fi-esh outburst ot, 
the parachute fever will not become general. 

There were one or two new departures this year to which 
reference should be made ; the first consisted of the asoent 
of a bottle-shaped balloon, which was constructed by the 
manufacturer, Charles Green Spencer, whose father's 
name is so well known in connection with the veteran 
Green. Messrs. Spencer & Son, of Hollo way, made 
this novel shaped balloon with a view of calling 
public attention to M.t. Sobn Gosaeffi^ Caeix^ ■?i'*«sam. 
perfume, but as tlie gaseous cottWt&a oi ■itj^ v^Yua.' 



BALIiOON EXPEBIENOES. 281 

cannot be particularly sweet, it strikes me that a case of 
Cherry Blossom in glass bottles, would prove serviceable 
for a blending process, especially when expansion takes 
place, and after the descent when the gas is being let off. 
In that situation, gentlemen, and especially ladies, would 
gladly make a purchase to remove the atmospheric 
contamination. 

I may also mention a feature connected with Montgolfier 
balloons, which purports to be an improvement in the 
method of heating the air. This is effected by Mr. J. J. 
Norman's petroleum burner, which has been seen by 
Major Templer, and is spoken favourably of by Mr. Brearey, 
Honorary Secretary of the Aeronautical Society of Great 
Britain. I hope to see this plan, and to form my own 
opinion of its merits. 

Lastly, it has been announced that Mr. John Sangster 
will place at the disposal of Mr. Le Fevre and the Council 
of the Balloon Society £1,000 towards a fund to reward 
the first aerial navigator who solves the problem of con- 
ducting, scientifically, a machine through the air, as ships 
are navigated through the water. 

While I write I receive an account of a parachute 
disaster which I subjoin. 

" B. F. Vandegriffc, the American aeronaut, met with a 
fearful death at Columbus, Ohio, on Thursday week. He 
had ascended in his balloon from Exhibition Park, with a 
view of descending by means of a parachute. When the 
balloon had reached an altitude of about half-a-mile ii 
suddenly collapsed and began lo Siei^CietA., ^T*^^ ^ss^^^^^^j^sc*. 
were terror-stricken, as they expeeXifeOi \a^ ^^^ "^^ss^^'^^S^ 



I 



a MY LIFE AHD 

daalied to pieces on reaching the ground. With great 
preaenee of mind, however, the aeronaut cut tho cord 
attaching the parachute to the baUooQ, and tried to leap 
clear of the latter. After descending rapidly for some 
distiinee, the parachute expanded and sailed away on the 
wind. The balloon, however, hore rapidly down npon the 
atironaut, and threatened to become entangled with the 
parachnte. By desterous management, Vandegrift was 
able to keep dear of it. But now a new danger presented 
itself. It was seen that the course the parachnte was 
taking would inevitably lead to its descent into the 
turbulent waters of the Chataboochee River, and a great 
cry went up from the crowd. As the parachute approaehed 
the water Vandegrift was heard to cry wildly, ' Save me! 
save me! ' These words of entreaty were addi'essed to two 
fishermen who were paddling up stream in a small boat. 
The men heard the cry and rowed towards the descending 
parachute as swiftly as possible, reaching the scene a few 
minutes after it had settled in the water. The balloonist 
caught hold of the side of the bateau, and in trying to 
draw himself up partially overturned the frail craft which 
began to till rapidly. The men in the boat became alarmed, 
and rushing to the opposite end, by some means Vandegrift 
lost hold and sank. He never rose again, and search for 
his body was still in progress when this report left." 

Taken as a whole, the aeronautic doings of this year 
form a singular combination of novelties, though it must 
be confessed that the era of 1888 has not proved that 
the solution of a long looked for problem is very close at 
jband. But there ate no Teaaon^ for despaix-. We have 



BALLOON EXPERIENCES. 288 

had an opportunity of frequently observing the wonderful 
sustaining powers of air, when a sufBicient surface has 
grappled with the lighter fluid above. What we now 
require is motive force instead of a mere compressing 
contrivance like a parachute. It is not reasonably to be 
expected, that in little more than a century, a modern art, 
which has to do battle with so attenuated a substance, as 
indeed the ocean overhead has been found, will yield to 
man's ingenuity so quickly as desired. 

Ballooning is still an infant, but it will lead to aerial 
navigation and will grow if duly nurtured and indefatigably 
pursued by the right sort of cultivation. 

It is this which is so much needed, and it may be that 
a high order of association will, one day, be formed, 
composed of leaders and members, whose motives, abilities, 
and means, will enable them to reward those who can 
really lead us forward to emulate the feathered tribe, and 
to accomplish propulsion through the air as we now travel 
over the water. 




PrtnUd by T. BretteU tt Co,, 51, Rupert Street W. 



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